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Anti-human trafficking project expands to Irbid

By Laila Azzeh - Oct 22,2014 - Last updated at Oct 22,2014

IRBID — Understanding the types of modern slavery, especially those arising in the aftermath of crises, is the first step towards eradicating human trafficking, experts agreed on Wednesday.

With the aim of preventing crimes related to the issue in the second most populated governorate in Jordan — Irbid, home to 1.52 million — a new stage of the “Anti-Human Trafficking Awareness Raising” project is now being implemented.

Under the $250,000 Japan-funded initiative, refugees and host communities alike will be exposed to activities that help them identify human trafficking practices and thus reach out for help, organisers said.

Around 144,000 Syrian refugees are registered by UNCHR as currently residing in the governorate, 80km north of Amman.

The project, carried out by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Public Security Department unit for combating human trafficking, also seeks to build the capacity of trainers and security personnel working with the local community.

Attending the launch and recognition of the initiative, HRH Princess Basma said such projects stem from a deep belief in human rights and the need to protect human dignity without any discrimination based on colour, gender, race or region.

She noted that this is especially true in light of the difficult stage the region is going through, which imposed new realities on the Kingdom, mainly the forced migration of many who have chosen Jordan in search of security and stability.

“Criminal groups become active in such difficult situations to make use of migrants’ cruel and extraordinary experiences,” the princess said, noting that there is a dire need for protecting this vulnerable segment of society.

She reiterated the importance of raising public awareness on human trafficking crimes, because they are “wide, ramified and manifested in many actions”, in addition to being “ugly”, particularly for women and children, two of the segments most vulnerable to these “despicable” practices.

Princess Basma highlighted that anti-trafficking efforts require an integration of legislative, religious and moral factors with cultural heritage to ensure public rejection of practices that involve the exploitation of humans.

The project, which was first launched in Mafraq earlier this year, also includes a waste management aspect to support local authorities by providing sanitation services.

According to organisers, clean-up campaigns bring hundreds of area residents and Syrian refugees together to promote cohesion.

IOM Jordan Chief of Mission Davide Terzi commended Jordan’s efforts to host refugees and commitment to adopt measures to protect their rights.

During Wednesday’s ceremony, held at Jamileh Bo Azza School in Irbid, students held several activities, including a play and painting a mural.

Last year, Jordan reported 17 human trafficking cases involving 54 males and 27 females, according to a report prepared by the National Anti-Trafficking Committee.

The number of human trafficking victims worldwide reaches 21 million annually.

Jordan enacted an Anti-Human Trafficking law in March 2009. The Kingdom has also ratified the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime and its supplemental Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

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