In an ongoing effort to prepare the public service, law enforcement and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to counter human trafficking, the Government sponsored two days of training conducted by specialists from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
First Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Development Phedra Rahming said the training focused on women and children who are usually the victims of human trafficking.
Ms. Rahming explained that the 35 persons chosen to participate in the training may in the line of their duties, come into contact with victims of human trafficking, or have to deal with issues related to human trafficking.
Project Coordinators in the Counter-Trafficking Unit in the IOM Amy Mohoney and Chissey Mueller facilitated the training that ran from October 7-8.
Ms. Mohoney said, “They (the participants) are in a good position to be able to identify as well as assist potential victims of trafficking.
“The technical definition of trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of a person by means of threat, force, fraud, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, abuse of power for the purpose exploitation.
“Exploitation can be servitude, slavery, slavery like practices, organ removal or prostitution and other sexual exploitations or sexual forms.”
Ms. Mahoney explained that there is a difference between the trafficking in adults and the trafficking in children. “With adults if you have the means, the force, fraud, coercion present in the element – it does not matter if they consented to whatever it was – consent is irrelevant.”
But for children (who are under the age of 18), it does not matter even if there was not force, fraud or coercion.
She said, “You just need the child to be recruited, transferred, harboured or receipt for the purpose of exploitation.”
Ms. Mohoney said this is the third workshop experts from the IOM have conducted since late 2004/early 2005, when they came for one-day to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking.
The Project Coordinator said the first day of this particular training was dedicated to defining what is human trafficking and looking the difference between trafficking and human smuggling.
The second day centred on how to respond to the issue based on the IOM’s model of prevention, protection and prosecution. The remainder of the day centred on the issue of children and looking at how to identify where and why children are being trafficked, as well as looking at how to identify and assist them.
Ms. Rahming said there will be another training workshop in 2009 that may be held in Grand Bahama. She noted that in the future, participants from the workshops will be able to act as facilitators training other professionals in the Family Islands.