The United States government through the Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (JTIP), is providing funding support to enhance Zimbabwe and the SADC region’s response to trafficking in persons.
The funding, reaching just over $2 million, will enable Zimbabwe and the SADC region to start various initiatives to eliminate trafficking in persons.
At an event to mark the beginning of a training session for shelter staff in Harare, officials at the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Monday acknowledged receiving $750,000 from JTIP to enhance efforts to coordinate anti-trafficking responses, and protect victims of trafficking over three years.
“The funding from JTIP will enable IOM to implement various counter trafficking activities in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe,” said Lily Sanya, IOM Chief of Mission in Zimbabwe.
“Over a three year period, IOM will work to enhance government and civil society’ efforts to coordinate anti-trafficking responses, and protect victims of trafficking through strengthened protection to identified victims of trafficking, improved capacity of targeted communities to prevent trafficking in persons, and an institutionalized National Referral Mechanism,” she added.
Other JTIP funding will be provided to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to support SADC member states as they harmonize anti-trafficking legislation and enhance collaborative methods of data collection and capacity building programs.
U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said, “It is a top priority of the United States to eradicate this global scourge in the 21st Century.”
The American diplomat, who is concluding his tour of duty in Zimbabwe in a month, commended shelter staff attending the three day training session for recommitting themselves to protecting victims of trafficking in persons.
“This important work of protecting those in our society who have become the targets of exploitation is fundamental to any larger strategy aimed at stamping out the scourge that is human trafficking,” he said.
The training is being attended by staff from government departments and non-governmental organizations. It is expected help participants increase their understanding of the rights of trafficking victims and how to provide them with specialized, victim-centered services to support them in their rehabilitation.
According to the schedule, the training will cover general guidelines for interventions and remedial actions to promote recovery and support for the rehabilitation of trafficking victims, specific skills in communicating with traumatized victims, interviewing techniques, and shelter management techniques among other subjects.
Human trafficking involves the trade in human beings for the purpose of exploitation.
It is a crime that takes place within national and transnational borders.
Tuso Mapala, Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare noted the Zimbabwean government was in the process of establishing centers in all provinces to rehabilitate victims of trafficking in persons.