Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Islanders attend Human Trafficking awareness training


Human trafficking affects the most vulnerable population in Central America and the Caribbean. In most incidents, it may be challenging to identify the problem. To help those concerned with the issue become more familiar with the situation and help raise awareness, a training was held on Wednesday, October 5th, at the island’s Community Center and Children’s Home Hope Haven.
The Human Trafficking Institute conducted the training. The almost three-hour session saw members of different sectors of the island community, including the San Pedro Town Council councillors. The presentations under the topic ‘Trafficking in Persons Identification and Awareness’ saw presenters Chris Lick and Elswith Chevez sharing valuable information and examples of real-time events.
One portion of the conversation touched on susceptible populations. These include the homeless, vulnerable youth, foster care, unaccompanied, undocumented immigrants, those with a language barrier, LGBT, and financial insecurity.
One of the most common cases deals with people living in poverty and being exploited in exchange for money or goods. Some signs of human trafficking include someone living with an employer, poor living conditions, inability to speak to others alone, employer holding identity documents, unpaid or paid minimal, signs of physical abuse, fearful behaviour, and prostitution under the age of 18.
In addition, if there is the opportunity to speak with a potential victim privately without jeopardizing their safety, questions include, have you been hurt or threatened if you try to leave? Where do you sleep and eat? Are you in debt to your employer? Do you have your passport/identification document? Who has it? This information will better assist in identifying a victim and rendering the proper assistance.
Effects of Human Trafficking
According to the presenters, human trafficking can significantly affect a person. Many victims remain traumatized and have a hard time trusting people. This can require therapies at rehabilitation centers that can take months or years. Another trauma is biological, referring to physical injuries and health problems. These include broken bones, untreated wounds, sexually transmitted infections, reproductive health problems, and malnutrition.
An example shared was the case of a group of young girls rescued from a prostitution ring. The girls appeared malnourished, and when interviewed, they revealed that their employer rationed their food to keep them from gaining weight.
The problem, a dilemma in the region, continues to happen as we speak. In most cases, it occurs in private homes, making it difficult for authorities to crack down on these inhumane operations. If anyone believes they have identified someone in the trafficking situation, get in touch with the authorities immediately at the different contact information below:
Emergency call 911, Crime Stoppers 922 or 0-800-922-TIPS (8477), or email at [email protected].

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