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USAID and IOM POS Unite to Empower Trafficking Survivors in Trinidad and Tobago
Port-of-Spain – July 18, 2023 marked a significant milestone in the fight against human trafficking, as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) teamed up with the International Organization for Migration Port of Spain Office (IOM POS) to support the Transition Home for Migrant Girls in Trinidad and Tobago. On Tuesday, IOM POS provided fifteen (15) laptops and other vocational items valued at approximately US$10,000.00 to the Gender and Child Affairs Division, which oversees the Transition Home for Migrant Girls, which house victims of trafficking. The Honourable Ayanna Webster-Roy, Minister with responsibility for Gender and Child Affairs, received the donation on behalf of the Transition Home. This handover marked the commencement of a wider outfitting and equipping activity under the Heal, Empower Rise Counter Trafficking in Persons (HER CTIP) Project, which is funded by the USAID.
IOM POS’s Head of Office - Ms. Jewel Ali, who participated in the Handover Ceremony, praised the efforts of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in its establishment of the Transition Home in December 2022. Ms. Ali noted, “Trinidad and Tobago should continue to place focus on the protection of and assistance to the victims by ensuring that support services are available and accessible to those in need.”
With a total budget of US$950,000.00, the HER CTIP Project will deliver both in-person and online learning and livelihood training to young Victims of Trafficking (VoTs) under 18 years of age. These services will be offered in various facilities across Trinidad and Tobago, ensuring that survivors receive the necessary tools to rebuild their lives. The HER CTIP Project is designed as a collaborative initiative, involving multiple stakeholders, with the aim of strengthening the capacity of key Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Government agencies. This support includes the provision of technical and infrastructural assistance,
facilitating improved access to vital support services for potential, presumed, and confirmed victims of trafficking, particularly women and girls.
Mr. Mervyn Farroe, USAID’s Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, thanked Minister Webster-Roy for her leadership of the HER C-TIP Project. He said, “USAID is committed to providing the technical assistance, tools and resources needed to improve the quality of care for persons who have suffered the horrific crime of human trafficking.” The Honourable Fitzgerald Hinds, Minister of National Security also delivered remarks, reiterating that crime in Trinidad and Tobago is a public health concern as he emphasized the need to invest positively in young people.
Minister Webster Roy, indicated that “the Government recognizes the challenges posed by human trafficking and remains committed to eradicating this form of modern-day slavery. In addition, we are committed to providing assistance to those who have been negatively affected by it.” She also indicated that through collaboration under the HER CTIP Project, victims will have greater access to comprehensive, high-quality care, treatment and support, stating that “as advocates for child welfare and protection and champions of gender equality, it is our responsibility to protect the human rights of every individual within our border, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity.” Also present at the Handover Ceremony was Mr. Vijay Gangapersad, Permanent Secretary (Ag.) Gender and Child Affairs, Ms. Sharon Ramsaran, USAID’s Governance and Rule of Law Specialist and Mr. Zeke Beharry, IOM’s Project Manager for HER CTIP.
Looking ahead, IOM POS, in partnership with USAID, envisions a strengthened victim support environment in Trinidad and Tobago through the HER CTIP Project. This will ensure that survivors of trafficking receive timely and high-quality support services, fostering healing and empowerment to help them lead productive lives. The Gender and Child Affairs Division looks forward to the continued support as advocates for child welfare and protection.
For additional information, please contact:
Reporting and Communications Officer at IOM Port-of-Spain, Ms. Kandy Serrant, at firstname.lastname@example.org