Education officer wants anti-human trafficking clubs in schools

Education officer wants anti-human trafficking clubs in schools

Observer writer

Thursday, July 11, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Citing the need to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and enlighten students on the worrying matter, Cecelia Jackson, an education officer of the education's ministry region four, is recommending that anti-human trafficking clubs be established in schools across the region.

Region four encompasses the parishes of St James, Hanover and Westmoreland.

If implemented, the move would follow similar action taken by Port Antonio High School in Portland, which announced two months ago that it is taking steps to establish such a club at the institution — the first of its kind at a school in the island.

“I want, through the ministry in our region, to encourage principals to let this club be a part of their institutions,” Jackson told the Jamaica Observer following a human trafficking presentation held at Calvary Baptist Church in Montego Bay, St James last week.

The presentation, which featured Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Carl Berry of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Cime Investigation branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force as its main presenter, was put on by the Calvary Baptist Family Life and Fellowship Committee.

It was held under the theme 'Human Trafficking — violating human dignity'.

Jackson pointed to the role such a club could play in tackling human trafficking.

“It is when students are aware that they will be more alert, and they will encourage each other to look out,” she stressed.

The education officer, who is also the chairman of the Family Life and Fellowship Committee at Calvary Baptist Church, wants a similar club to be established in the church.

“Definitely, we would want to do that in our church, because we have a number of young people,” she said, adding that other clubs could also be established in other Baptist churches.

Meanwhile, Jackson said the main aim for staging the human trafficking forum at the church was to sensitise families, and the community in general, to investigate and report incidents.

“Too many of our children, too many of our people are engaged in trafficking, as well as being trafficked,” she noted.

Local authorities estimate that hundreds of Jamaicans are, or have been, victims of human trafficking. A report from the government information arm earlier this year stated that between 2010 and 2016, a total of 62 victims had been rescued.

Worldwide, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in its Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, has reported that data gathered from 155 countries show that the most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation, at 79 per cent.

“The victims of sexual exploitation are predominantly women and girls,” the report stated.

During the forum, DSP Berry argued that globally, traffickers force children to work in sweatshops, on construction sites, in houses as domestic servants, on the streets as child beggars, in wars as child soldiers, on farms, on the high seas, in restaurants and hotels, and in brothels and strip clubs, as escorts and for massage services.

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