Country Director of the USAID, Denise Herbol, said the drive is necessary as “not enough people know about human trafficking.”
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates, there are 20.9 million people currently trapped in human trafficking. Men, women and children are victims of trafficking, both in their country and abroad.
“We strongly believe the JCF’s efforts to apprehend traffickers and gather evidence to get convictions will allow Jamaica to make significant progress to combat trafficking. I would also like to commend the Government of Jamaica as they continue to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat trafficking,” Ms. Herbol said.
She was speaking at the launch of ‘Operation Uplift’, a new strategy to fight human trafficking, held at Police Officers’ Club on May 6.
The USAID funded Fi Wi Jamaica Project, implemented through the University of Technology (UTech), is to design strategic and proactive responses to Trafficking in Persons (TIP). One key element of the project is the need to raise awareness of the situation of victims in order to promote and protect their rights.
Ms. Herbol said the project also focuses on activities to provide economic livelihood opportunities for vulnerable women and young girls.
This has proven necessary, Ms. Herbol said, having recognised that the search for gainful employment often lures women and young girls from poverty stricken communities into prostitution and other high risk situations that make them vulnerable to exploitation of all forms.
In response to this need, the project has engaged potential victims through entrepreneurial and empowerment programmes, working with women and young girls from marginalized communities.
“These programmes will provide sustainable employment opportunities for at least 166 at-risk women and young girls in Jamaica,” Ms. Herbol noted.
She pointed out that that each year in July the world commemorates World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, and the United States Government, through USAID, publicly declares its commitment to end human trafficking and to support victims and survivors around the globe.