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Anti-Trafficking Unit launched to combat human trafficking

Anti-Trafficking Unit launched to combat human trafficking

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The Anti-Trafficking Unit was officially launched last Friday, April 13, at the Questelles Police Station.{{more}}

The unit has been in place since March, said the Commissioner of Police, Keith Miller, and is the latest in a series of steps, as this country seeks to rid itself from being on a tier 2 watch list for Human Trafficking.

“We were compelled to do this as a result of directives given,” Miller further explained.

The unit will be headed by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ruth Jacobs and will be assisted by Sergeant Junior Simmons.

“Part of their task will be to investigate reports and not only sit and await complaints, but operate in such a manner that they will go out and try to seek to get information whenever they can,” Miller said.

The job requires the officers to do a lot of reading to ensure that they are kept up to date with current trends, the Commissioner explained, adding that the Unit will also be required to work closely with agencies including the port, immigration and Coast Guard among others.

“You have to be good detectives and have good eyes and ears,” he said.

The unit will also be dealing with issues of domestic violence and sexual offences.

“It’s a holistic approach.” the Commissioner noted.

Chissey Mueller, Director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), who has been charged with the task of helping this country to build capacity to combat human trafficking, suggested some future actions that could complement the work of the anti-trafficking unit.

These include the setting up of a working group made up of volunteers that would facilitate the day-to-day operations of the unit and the possibility of conducting sensitization sessions with key stakeholders to create an awareness of the issue.

She complimented the government saying that this country had accomplished a lot since being put on the watch list.

Meanwhile Michele Fife, Legal Advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also applauded the efforts being made so far, saying that too often, such important issues get pushed to the back.

“The slave trade was abolished because people began to take personal responsibility for the evils that they were doing and we have to approach today’s problem in the same manner,” Fife said.

She commended the officers selected to head the unit saying that she was sure that the Unit was in capable hands.

“As the first to lead the Unit, you are going to be trailblazers; you are going to leave a mark on the social and political landscape of our country that will never be erased because this is the first unit of its kind. Seize the opportunity to maximize your potential,” she said.

Fife advised that there will be challenges and criticisms from the public and from inside the police force, but that they were to overcome these.

“The battle for freedom, justice, equality and for liberty is never hopeless, but it is never finally won either. You must fight and we must fight with you against human exploitation,” Fife explained. (DD)

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