The Ministry of National Security (MNS) National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) says that the reintegration of victims of trafficking into society is a crucial aspect of the Task Force’s mandate.
The NATFATIP was established in June 2005 as a multi-agency approach to enhance national capacity and develop and implement Jamaica’s legislative, institutional and operational response for combatting trafficking in persons.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank session held on Tuesday (July 20), Manager, Trafficking in Persons Secretariat, MNS, Chenee Russell-Robinson, said that due to the psychological impact of trafficking in persons on victims, NATFATIP sees it as a priority to provide support for this vulnerable group.
“After you have come out of a life of trafficking in persons, you are traumatised and you will need the assistance of persons, including your family members and government stakeholders, to help you to get back to a normal life,” she explained.
According to Mrs Russell-Robinson, psychological support is offered by the
Victim Services Division as well as the Child Protection and Family Services Agency.
“We offer counselling services, and this is for the long term, as some victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a host of other medical conditions. So, we keep in touch with persons as they recover from the incidents of human trafficking,” she said.
Mrs Russell-Robinson said also that NATFATIP offers support through assistance with education expenses, job opportunities, skills training and other activities.
“[Regardless of] the circumstances that would have led persons into a life of trafficking, we want to ensure that we prevent them from getting back into those situations.” The Task Force even helps them to find jobs, she said, as some people end up in trafficking in persons by responding to a job advertisement. “We know that most times persons end up in trafficking due to dire situations and dire needs,” she explained.
The Manager of the Trafficking in Persons Secretariat also offers reintegration assistance to victims who are not Jamaicans but who have been rescued from trafficking in persons locally.
“If a victim is a non-national, we help them to get safely repatriated to their country at our expense, and if a person is not in possession of identification documents, such as a passport, we help them to get back those documents,” she explained.
Mrs Russell-Robinson revealed that more than 30 per cent of victims of trafficking in persons are not Jamaican citizens.
The MNS will be hosting a week of activities under the global theme, “Victims’ Voices Lead the Way” to commemorate the World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2021 on July 30.
The week of activities begin on Sunday (July 25) with a church service. During the week there will be sensitisation sessions with hotel employees and radio and television interviews. The final activity is a virtual town hall on Friday (July 30) in observance of the day.
The virtual town hall will be streamed on the social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube) of the Ministry of National Security (@mnsgovjm) from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.