UCC partners with ministry to offer degree in human trafficking

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 19, 2018

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THE University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) will this year be offering a master's degree in human trafficking, which is aimed at equipping stakeholders to better combat the multimillion-dollar trade, commonly referred to as modern-day slavery.

The programme, expected to start in October, is a partnership between the Ministry of Justice and the National Task Force Against Trafficking Persons.

According to the university's corporate education manager, Tahjaa Knuckle, the programme will focus on organised crime, international human rights and other subject areas in line with international partner institutions.

Knuckle made the announcement at yesterday's launch of Trafficking in Persons Week and International Human Trafficking Conference at the Ministry of Justice. The activities are scheduled for July 22 to 28, and will be held under the theme 'From Victim to Survivor: The Hard Road to Recovery'.

Knuckle also said the university will also be offering undergraduate degrees in social work and applied psychology to train stakeholders to better deal with victims of human trafficking and their rehabilitation.

She pointed out that the university has received approval from the University of London to deliver the masters of law programme with a specialisation in human rights law.

The programme, she explained, will immediately provide opportunity for staff members and officials of relevant agencies to further develop competencies to fight the human trafficking trade.

The university, according to Knuckle, will also be offering short courses, online courses, and certificate programmes related to human trafficking, and will have scholarships available.

The UCC manager told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the institution was compelled to partner with stakeholders given the fact that a number of people are not aware of the extent of human trafficking in Jamaica.

“We recognise that trafficking in persons is real. It's a real issue and [we're in] dire strait when as an institute of learning can hear that persons out there don't even know anything or have heard or learnt anything about this circumstance of trafficking in person. They don't even believe that it is real in our home-land that means that it is critical,” Knuckle said.

Jamaica retained a Tier 2 ranking in the latest human trafficking report published by the US State Department, which means there is much room for improvement.

According to the National Task Force Against Trafficking Persons, between 2010 and 2018 more 750 anti-trafficking operations were conducted, resulting in 82 victims being rescued, 30 suspected traffickers arrested, and the dismantling of three prostitution rings.

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