Breaking the silence: Human trafficking expert holds workshop for local media correspondents

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

A full-day media workshop was held on Saturday, March 5th at the Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET) in Belize City. The workshop tackled subjects such as gender-based violence, recent jargon adjustments that reflect gender, femicide and variations of human trafficking. It was hosted under the Head of State and Government of the Central American Integration System (SICA) BA1 Project, and led by none-other by Anne-Marie Williams, director of the Women’s National Commission and a qualified advocate in the area of Trafficking.Trafficking Workshop Ann Marie Williams-1
Williams was the eighth Belizean to be selected for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows Program, where she received graduate-level studies in the area of “Trafficking in Persons, Policy, and Prevention” at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington D.C. USA. In attendance were representatives from The San Pedro Sun, Love FM, Centaur TV 3, Krem Radio, Radio Turquesa 91.5, and PG TV.
This intensive workshop was organized in an effort to educate Belizean media correspondents in sensitizing their approaches when it deals with sensitive topics. One of the many media mistakes mentioned included victims’ oppression, or their identities are revealed, such as in cases of rape or incest.
As a former TV anchor, newspaper editor, and award-wining investigative journalist, Williams mandates the credibility of all journalists in Belize by helping them adequately solidify their writing and reporting skills. As valuable tips were given, she also addressed factors that would make correspondents stand out. “The media has a responsibility to service the people and keep the public informed. The hallmark of a real journalist is to go where the story leads, especially if it is an investigative piece. If you are a good reporter, you have to be a good listener,” said Ann-Marie.Trafficking Workshop Ann Marie Williams-2
Another discussion that heightened the conference was the recent uprate in gender-based violence in Belize. Where before, most domestic violence cases saw males as the main perpetrators, but now there are more reports of women being reported. Williams also highlighted two downgrades in human trafficking cases in 2014 and 2015, which in reference to “Trafficking in Persons Report”, July 2015 Edition, classifies Belize as a ‘Tier 3’ country.
All media houses present were appreciative of the informative workshop, and extended a thank you to Ms. Ann-Marie Williams and Belize’s Women’s Department for this constructive training segment and promoting solidarity within the media.

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