Help stop human trafficking

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Trafficking in persons and children can and sometimes takes place in plain sight.

It takes place all over the world, as well as here in Trinidad and Tobago. For several years, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Painful Mother, through its ministry, the Franciscan Institute for Personal and Family Development, has been committed to working to break the silence, break the chains and help stop the trafficking in human beings in the Caribbean countries where they serve.

Since 1976, the congregation has started to work in the fight against human trafficking in Italy.

In 2005 she expanded this ministry and in 2007 when it became very evident that there was a worsening international sex market, the congregation leadership mandated that each of their international network strive to help stop human trafficking and integrate this mission into all ministries.

The Franciscan Institute, which is established in TT, Granada and Saint Lucia in accordance with the mandate of the congregation, has embraced the initiative to help stop human trafficking. The institute’s anti-trafficking programs have adopted three of the four Ps defined by the United Nations to combat trafficking in human beings: prevention, partnership and protection.

Education is the key tool used to raise public awareness. The institute’s work includes education sessions and workshops in elementary and secondary schools and webinars on how this crime can be prevented and reported.

During the covid19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the use of social media. The institute took the opportunity to educate parents, teachers, school leaders and young people about what online grooming is and how it can lead to sexual exploitation, especially among children. .

These webinars were produced by Dr. Karen Moore, Clinical Child Psychologist and Coordinator of the Institute’s Trauma Team. In addition, the institute organized cybersecurity workshops in partnership with the Cyber ​​Safe TT organization.

Over the years, the institute has intensified its collaboration with the Anti-Trafficking Unit (CTU), faith-based organizations, interfaith organizations, NGOs, government and any person or group willing to work to mitigate this. crisis.

In 2020 and this year, an effective outreach mechanism implemented by the Franciscan Institute in collaboration with CTU created and installed 28 park benches in schools, churches and NGOs across the country.

The awareness signage on the benches contained important bilingual information enabling people to report incidents or suspicious activity. Using a survivor-centered approach, the institute has helped provide food, care packages and mental health support to survivors of human trafficking and vulnerable people.

We aim to continue our partnership with the Anti-Trafficking Unit of the Ministry of National Security and its stakeholders. Let us all act to protect the innate dignity of human life and prevent people from falling victim to this horrendous crime “against humanity”.

Contact the Anti-Trafficking Unit hotline 800-4CTU (4288). Report suspected cases to 800-4CTU (4288) or the nearest police station.

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