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Campaign launched to raise awareness on human trafficking

By Hani Hazaimeh - Apr 23,2013 - Last updated at Apr 23,2013

AMMAN — Over the past decade, more than nine million workers have been victims of human trafficking worldwide, an International Organisation for Migration (IOM) official said on Tuesday, commending Jordan's actions to combat the phenomenon.

"The IOM has implemented around 950 projects around the world focusing on preventing human trafficking and providing protection to more than 12,000 victims," IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson said at the launch of an awareness campaign to combat human trafficking titled "We are all Workers: We have Rights and Duties.”

"Locally, we have been working and cooperating with the relevant ministries where we have trained more than 150 government officials on victim identification," she added, noting that Jordan has an important role to play to become an excellent model in combating trafficking with a strong government institutional system.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, which is aimed at raising awareness on the dangers of human trafficking and how to seek assistance for victims, HRH Princess Basma said the phenomenon has imposed itself onto the international agenda.

She stressed that complaints related to human trafficking are not limited to any state or region, noting that Jordan is not isolated from this phenomenon.

"The crime of human trafficking, in all its forms is one of the most heinous of our modern world. It stems from the age old crime of slavery that continues to this day under the new name of human trafficking," added Princess Basma, who is IOM's special envoy.

"Let us consider some of the practices that migrant workers face. For example, what it means to have one’s passport confiscated in a foreign country, or for a female worker to be prevented from calling her family; or not getting paid her salary.

"…Where are the values we boast about when we deal with a female worker as if she is a faulty commodity and can be replaced? Such practices entirely contravene what is stated in our religion as with all religious beliefs, national constitutions and international charters," she stressed.

Highlighting the media's role in bringing the issue of human trafficking to the attention of all concerned parties, Princess Basma said there have been some positive changes in media coverage of migrant workers’ problems, adding that media outlets have started to pay more attention to these issues.

The awareness campaign is organised by the ministries of justice, labour and interior and the Public Security Department (PSD), in cooperation with the IOM.

Labour Minister Nidal Katamine said his ministry is focusing its efforts towards raising public awareness of the human trafficking phenomenon.

"We have just recently set up a special unit for combating human trafficking in cooperation with the PSD, which is tasked with providing protection for the victims and taking all necessary means to act decisively against this crime," Katamine added.

Jordan enacted an anti-trafficking law in March 2009 and has recently instituted bylaws that established standards for employing domestic helpers and operating recruitment agencies.

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