WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — The Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) announces the additional award of $4.75 million to ten grantees to strengthen Haitian institutional and civil society capacity to identify and respond to human trafficking. The funding stems from the U.S. Congress under the Supplemental Act, 2010.
The grantees include: Catholic Relief Services, Free the Slaves, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights, International Association for Women Judges, International Organization for Migration, SHARE Institute/Survivors Connect, University of San Francisco Center for Law and Global Justice, and the Warnath Group LLC.
The award of ten additional grants signifies the United States’ continued commitment to rule of law and the protection of children in Haiti as well as strengthening law enforcement responses against traffickers taking advantage of vulnerable persons in a post-disaster situation. ”
The grantees will work with local partners to help draft anti-trafficking legislation, support direct services for victims’ recovery, and prevent human trafficking and gender-based violence in the internally displaced persons camps. Additionally, grantees will increase the capacity of targeted law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases and social welfare agencies to recognize human trafficking and make referrals for services.
As the issue of involuntary child domestic servitude under the ‘restavek’ system continues to be a high priority, grantees will also increase public awareness about it. The 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report estimates that 225,000 children were enslaved before the earthquake.
Anti-trafficking experts were part of the emergency response and the planning to rebuild in Haiti. Following the earthquake last January, G/TIP funded nearly $1 million in new grants to respond to the heightened risk of trafficking of Haitian children. This included assistance to restore the lives of child trafficking victims through the provision of nutritional, medical, psychological, and educational assistance; a safe shelter; and reintegration assistance. It also enabled the screening of children at all four designated border crossings between Haiti and the Dominican Republic – a process never before conducted at the border. Children identified as suspected victims of trafficking are now registered, transferred into the care of the appropriate Haitian government agency and, when possible, reunified with their families.