Parents of trafficked children threaten to protest, but…

28 September 2021

Several parents whose children were allegedly trafficked by Madam Maria Morgan-Luyken have threatened a peaceful protest in demand of justice in order to draw the attention of the Government of Liberia and the international partners over delays in sentencing the accused.

The aggrieved parents say the accused, Madam Morgan – Luyken was found guilty by Criminal Court ‘’B’’ for trafficking – in – person, but it has taken over seven years and she has not been sentenced.

Speaking in an interview at the ground of the Temple of Justice, Matherline Johnson, spokesperson of the aggrieved parents, said they are tired of being left alone because they have not received any information from the government regarding the sentencing of the lady.

She explained that they have met the Assistant Justice Minister for Litigation Cllr. Weseh A. Wesseh several times and he told them to go to the Ministry of Labor to get more information concerning the case.

Matherline indicated that they believe that their children are dead because since Madam Morgan – Luyken was found guilty, the accused has not been able to bring back their children or face her sentence.

Madam Morgan – Luyken has been accused on multiple occasions of being a notorious child trafficker. She runs an adoption agency, West African Children Support Network, which she uses to adopt children and traffic them to the United States – leaving no trace to their biological parents.

In 2009, 35 children were taken from her agency because the adoption agency did not follow adoption laws and some of the children were allegedly being mistreated.

At the time of this case, Canada had stopped adoptions from Liberia because of the alleged child trafficking going on here. The U.S. Embassy in Liberia, however, still accepted adoption-related orphan visa applications from U.S. citizens.

According to some social media activists, including one “Ida Mae” on Twitter, Ms. Luyken allegedly trafficked about 550 children out of Liberia.

After two years of legal battle, Criminal Court ‘B’ at the Temple of Justice ruled that Madam Morgan – Luyken was guilty of child trafficking, and also liable for sending the children of two Liberian women to the United States of America without the consent of their mothers, Mathaline Johnson and Elizabeth Johnson.

Madam Luyken was accused along with two alleged accomplices Ernest Urey and Edwin Walk, but the Court ruled that the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to link the alleged associates.

Also speaking, prosecution lawyer Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh said that Madam Morgan-Luyken was found guilty of trafficking-in-person by the judge in 2019 but the court refused to sentence her after the hearing which took four months instead of the normal five days hearing.

He explained that despite their various calls to the judge to present the investigative report to the court, the judge told them that he cannot have Madam Morgan-Luyken sentenced because she had a term.

Cllr. Wesseh rejected the aggrieved parents’ allegation that he is the one that is delaying the sentencing of Madam Morgan-Luyken as the lead lawyer.

Meanwhile, Cllr. Wesseh is calling on the aggrieved parents to continue to exercise patience, adding that he is working with the Ministry of Labor and has also filed a memo to the Ministry of Justice. He explained that they will be meeting with the Chief Justice of Liberia on Tuesday, 31 August 2021 to find a solution to the problem.–Edited by Winston W. Parley