JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will begin full the roll-out of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) curriculum in schools when the 2016/17 academic year gets underway in September.
  • ASP Minto tells JIS News that the response to the presentations has been “overwhelming,” pointing out that a number of persons seemed “unaware of human trafficking and, perhaps feel that it will not happen in Jamaica.”
  • In pointing out that the public education campaign will be ongoing, ASP Minto assures that “our goal in the Ministry is to ensure that every school...will benefit from a presentation on human trafficking during this (academic) year.”

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information will begin full the roll-out of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) curriculum in schools when the 2016/17 academic year gets underway in September.

This follows the success of the pilot introduced in 49 institutions across the island in September 2015.

The curriculum will be implemented in over 500 primary and secondary institutions across the Ministry’s six regions.

The curriculum, jointly developed with the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons, aims to promote greater awareness among students and teachers of human trafficking.

Trafficking in persons is defined as the trade of humans, most commonly for forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation by traffickers or other persons.

Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Core Curriculum Unit, Dr. Clover Hamilton-Flowers, said the Trafficking in Persons curriculum will be treated as support material in the new National Standards Curriculum.

She said the curriculum will be integrated in lessons in Social Studies, Religious Education, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Physical Education and Sports, and History.

Teachers have been trained to help them understand the focus of the curriculum, the methodology they are supposed to use to incorporate it based on their context.

The Trafficking in Persons curriculum is geared towards helping persons see the issue as a global crime, as well as getting persons to identify means of preventing it and helping to reduce the vulnerability of persons, especially children and young people.

Dr. Hamilton-Flowers said the impact of the curriculum is dependent on the approach that teachers use to bring the topics across to students.

“If you push more of a reflective approach, the impact can be great, as opposed to just the knowledge of it. It is going to be dependent on how it is done, how often it is brought into the discussions and whether or not we have other supporting activities,” she said.

Chairman of the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons, Carol Palmer, told JIS News that the curriculum’s implementation is intended to further heighten knowledge and awareness across the society.

“Scientific research shows that the more aware, educated, and sensitised we are about human trafficking is the more successful we will be in combating the crime. So, while we do (general) public education, the curriculum’s implementation is critical for children, who are the most vulnerable. We have to help them to help themselves,” she said.

In preparation for the introduction of the curriculum, 110 Deans of Disciplines at high schools have been trained through a series of workshops.

Director of Safety and Security in Schools, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Coleridge Minto, tells JIS News that School Resource Officers (SROs) are also being prepared “so that they, too, can help to promote the awareness of trafficking in persons and the dangers associated with it.”

He informs that sensitisation sessions have also been held at several high schools, pointing out that “the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Unit in the Jamaica Constabulary Force gives us tremendous support… (as) they go into the schools and also do presentations.”

ASP Minto tells JIS News that presentations are also being made to parents, to sensitise them to the dangers of human trafficking, “and how they can mitigate (its impact for) both themselves and their children.”

Regarding curriculum development for tertiary institutions, ASP Minto “we continue to seek to dialogue and forge partnerships with the universities, so that those who (may) have missed (initial presentations) when we were introducing (the subject), can benefit.”

He advises, however, that the institutions benefit from the ongoing public education programmes undertaken through the JCF’s TIP Unit.

ASP Minto tells JIS News that the response to the presentations has been “overwhelming,” pointing out that a number of persons seemed “unaware of human trafficking and, perhaps feel that it will not happen in Jamaica.”

In pointing out that “we now have (several) cases before the courts,” ASP Minto says the Ministry is aiming to ensure that all stakeholders within the school community are thoroughly sensitised.”

“Every citizen of Jamaica…should be aware of what trafficking in persons entails. It’s very real, it’s very relevant, and it is happening,” he underscores.

In this regard, ASP Minto says the Ministry will also be seeking to partner with the Police Youth Clubs (PYCs) to stage public education programmes targeting members.

“We have, I think, over 500 Police Youth Clubs across the island…and many of them have young people, some of whom are in school and some who are out. So, in our partnership with the JCF, we are focusing on also doing presentations with the PYCs,” he states.

In pointing out that the public education campaign will be ongoing, ASP Minto assures that “our goal in the Ministry is to ensure that every school…will benefit from a presentation on human trafficking during this (academic) year.”

Meanwhile, ASP Minto says the Ministry has incorporated information on human trafficking in its Safety and Security Guidelines, which were drafted and issued to schools at the start of the 2015/16 academic year.

He explains that the manual, which can also be accessed on the Ministry’s website, defines trafficking in persons and provides guidelines in terms of actions which institutions can and should take, in the event of a suspected case, which would involve the police and other key stakeholders.