The Lebanese Internal Security Forces Directorate thwarted a human trafficking operation focused on smuggling Syrians into the country in December 2021.
Authorities arrested 26 Syrians, among an estimated 500,000 living in Lebanon without documentation. In many instances, Syrian traffickers hold their countrymen in bondage to repay the cost of food, shelter and transit to Lebanon.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis, the Lebanese government, through Lebanese Security Forces (LSF), is making significant efforts to reduce or eliminate human trafficking. Nevertheless, sealing off the 400-km Lebanon-Syria border to interrupt an illegal trade in fuel, arms, drugs, cigarettes, food and people is an extremely challenging mission.
Ports are another means by which criminals try to breach Lebanon’s borders. In December 2021, customs agents and a counternarcotics brigade at the port of Beirut seized 9 million Captagon pills hidden in hollow oranges packed with a shipment of fruit to the Arabian Gulf.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, the LSF enforced policies and regulations to curb the spread of the disease. These efforts included helping distribute hundreds of thousands of vaccines donated by the U.S. government.
Sources: Lebanese National News Agency, U.S. Embassy in Lebanon, Foreignpolicy.com
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