Thursday, November 22, 2007

USAID-backed Trafficking Awareness Program in Jamiaca Makes an Impact

Awareness: a key element in combating trafficking. As I've mentioned before, there is no one method that will single-handedly eliminate trafficking; a holistic approach is needed.

Other integral elements include:
  • A government that provides resources for anti-trafficking efforts as well as national and state level coordination
  • Legislation that protects victims and prosecutes traffickers and those who use the services provided by victims (i.e. prostitution, forced labor, domestic slavery)
  • Law enforcement that is trained to recognize and report trafficking situations
  • An efficient criminal justice system that is not hampered by corruption
  • An active civil sector that can assist with rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficking survivors
From the Jamaica Observer:

Testimonies from young participants in the recent Anti-Trafficking in Persons Project in Kingston were a poignant reminder of the value of education in Jamaica's fight against human trafficking. "It was an eye-opening adventure," said Shana-Kay Campbell, 14, a student at Children First. "Personally, I have been able to make informed choices, and understand the dangers of trafficking in persons."

The project, the second of its kind, was implemented by People's Action for Community Transformation, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development. The first was implemented in 2004, and ran for one year.

The initiative was geared at educating people identified as the most vulnerable in the society to recognize the various elements of trafficking, and to mobilize strategies to counteract the phenomenon. The project also sought to mobilize at-risk youths to identify alternative careers and lifestyles by providing them with the necessary education and skills to pursue their future goals.

Jamaica received a tier two ranking in June, which was an improvement over the country's earlier ranking, which put it on the tier two watch list. The island, the permanent secretary said, is now working towards a tier one ranking. "As we work towards tier one, the focus is on effective investigation and prosecution," she said, adding that ongoing education campaigns, a data collection system, and the training of state agents were also key.

Read the full article

We have moved past the age of public service announcements. Although still informative, nowadays there are more innovative ways to get people to connect to and learn about modern day slavery. Emerging technologies like Youtube and Facebook present interesting possibilities.

Do you know of successful trafficking awareness programs around the world? If so please share: the more creative, effective modes of raising awareness we can discover the better! Ending trafficking starts with awareness.

What else are people doing?


  1. I love your blog! I came across it searching for information. Today I was at an expat luncheon in Paris, France. Someone mentioned the Romanian beggars and I mentioned that they are here because of human trafficking. The discussion went on for sometime. Many were completely unaware that human trafficking was involved and did not understand why these people did not just flee for their freedom. We were talking about the UN psa that is on Aljazeera English

    It seems that many people do not know what they can do. Do you give the beggars money? If you do, the traffickers are continuing to make profit. If you don't, you know they will suffer more abuse. But if you help them...are you just helping th e traffickers to continue harming future generations? Many questions....

    Great blog! Keep up the good work. Hopefully in our lifetime (or sooner!) we will see some major changes to this global problem that exists in every country, not just poor ones.

  2. Thank you for your insightful comment. The issue of forced begging is something that does not come up enough in the media and if it is mentioned, it is generally discussed only in passing.

    Combined with this issue is the conflicting reaction of the public to these beggars, often old women and children, that you touched on: to help or not to help?

    It's a tough decision to make, but ultimately I believe this is a case of human trafficking where the traffickers, and not necessarily the demand or the general public, should be targeted. This is in contrast to forced prostitution where I believe both traffickers and customers should be targeted by law enforcement.

    Another important question is does forced begging have the political urgency and public awareness to motivate law enforcement, government officials, lawyers, etc. to really take action against it? At the moment I believe, and it is obvious from the media coverage displayed on this site, that forced begging is an issue that is heavily under emphasized and overshadowed by other more "mainstream" or dare I say even "sexy" (from a media perspective) trafficking issues such as forced prostitution, domestic slavery, forced labor and child trafficking. I welcome you to expound on your views to help raise awareness of this inportant form of human trafficking. Thank you for your support!