The Ministry of National Security (MNS) National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) says that partnerships are crucial to tackling the issue of trafficking in persons.
Speaking with JIS News, MNS, Trafficking in Persons Secretariat Manager, Chenee Russell Robinson, said that partnerships with local and international stakeholders are critical to assisting victims of trafficking and tackling trafficking locally.
“Partnerships are very important because trafficking in persons has to be tackled holistically and it has to be tackled through collaboration, meaning that the government alone cannot do it; it has to be a whole of country approach,” she added.
According to Mrs. Russell Robinson, government ministries, departments, and agencies along with non-governmental organisations such as Woman Inc, the Association of Women’s Organisation of Jamaica and Open Arms Shelter are crucial to the secretariat’s work and policies.
“We have a wide range of policies, victim guidelines, standard operating procedures for healthcare providers to help them to identify potential victims, how to refer matters to the police if they encounter a victim or how to treat potential victims of trafficking. We also have guidelines for our labour and inspector officers on how to inspect and look for evidence or signs of trafficking and how to report them,” she explained.
She noted that the International Organization for Migration is one international organisation that NATFATIP has been able to collaborate successfully with.
“They have helped us over the years to implement certain policies and guidelines within some of our entities. Every person is vulnerable to trafficking. It is not just persons from the lower socio-economic background; males, females and adults and children are all vulnerable to trafficking, so this makes it crucial that persons understand what this crime entails and how to distinguish it from other crimes,” she explained.
Mrs. Russell Robinson urged local organisations to reach out to partner with the secretariat.
“We implore persons who are local NGOs or local stakeholders that we are open to other partnerships because the messages cannot be too many; we need to be out there. Training and sensitisation cannot be enough because we know that there are many more persons who don’t know what is trafficking and we would like to bridge that gap,” she added.
The NATFATIP was established in June 2005 as a multi-agency approach to enhance national capacity and to develop and implement Jamaica’s legislative, institutional and operational response for combatting trafficking in persons.