Trafficking in Persons
Trafficking in Persons is increasingly one of the largest transnational organised crimes, with far reaching impact for those who have been victims. The Office of the Children’s Registry is a member of the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons and therefore, is always on the look-out for reports that contain within them, details that indicate that a child is a victim of trafficking or is vulnerable to be trafficked.
Registration Officers at the OCR were engaged in a training seminar on child trafficking on Wednesday July 13. The seminar was delivered by Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry, Head of the anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit at the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (CTOC) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
The session sought to have Registration Officers sharpen their skills in assessing reports for elements of child trafficking within the context of Jamaican legislation. DSP Berry, who said the training was timely, indicated that the Registration Officers were a part of law enforcement and were therefore integral in interviewing reporters to gather information with as much detail that can aid in the investigation of a trafficking matter.
Registration Officers also indicated that they were appreciative of the workshop as it would help them in better determining if a report was indeed a child trafficking report or another crime akin to trafficking such as child selling.
The training session comes on the heel of the June 17 conviction of two persons in the Home Circuit Court for the 2010 trafficking of a teenaged girl, and in anticipation of the National Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Week which is observed July 24th – 30th this year.
OCR’s Ananda Alert Training a Success
The usually quiet complex where the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) is headquartered was abuzz with Ananda Alert volunteers on July 14 and 15, 2016. The volunteers, spanning several government and non-government agencies including the Child Development Agency, Victim Services Division, Ministry of Health, Department of Correctional Services, Hear the Children’s Cry and various Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) formations were trained in Basic First Aid and Search and Rescue.
This type of training is not new to the OCR which manages the Ananda Alert Secretariat. In fact, volunteers from St. James, Trelawny, Westmoreland, St. Ann, St. Catherine and St. Thomas previously benefited from similar sessions in 2014 and 2015. The Secretariat has formed a strong partnership with the Caribbean Search Centre of the JCF as well as the Jamaica Fire Brigade who both deliver the content in an effort to equip civilians with the requisite skills to assist the police in an effective Search and Rescue operation.
The two day training included a simulated search and rescue operation which allowed participants an opportunity to do area and vehicle search operations where guns, ammunition and explosives were hidden and found as part of the clues in the fictitious operations.
Sergeant Nadine Blake who manages the Missing Person Desk in the St Catherine South division expressed that the training was extremely beneficial. She confessed that even with her many years in the profession, she was alarmed by the very small and inconspicuous spaces that children can now be hidden in vehicles. Stemming from this training, Sgt. Blake and many other participants plan to utilize their newly acquired knowledge and skills to the area of child protection and other activities of the Secretariat.
Head of the Ananda Alert Secretariat and coordinator for the trainings, Ms. Nathalee Ferguson, indicated that despite fiscal and human resource constraints, the OCR would continue these types of initiatives. Miss Ferguson shared that “… the care and protection of our Jamaican children is everybody’s business. When we see videos regarding the abuse of children, the public is enraged but this feeling of anger dies down quickly. We operate within a very tight fiscal space but the OCR is very committed to sustained public involvement especially where it concerns safely recovering our missing children”.
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The Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 treated staff to a suite of spa services courtesy of students and staff of La-Marie Spa Institute. Registry staff from the parish offices travelled in to Kingston for the session held at the OCR’s headquarters. Principal of the Institute, Paulette Dixon, who is also a Beauty Therapy Educator and Empowerment Coach, indicated that she believed the work of the OCR was very important and was for the greater good of Jamaica. She went on to say that the La-Marie Spa Institute is always willing to partner with institutions that are working to create a better Jamaica, especially those working to make children’s lives better.
Warren Thompson, Deputy Registrar, indicated that the initiative was very much appreciated as it was an opportunity for staff to de-stress and relax as a group. He indicated that receiving and recording incidents of child abuse daily can impact negatively on the wellbeing of staff because they are constantly exposed to stories of trauma.
A number of persons indicated their appreciation for the massages provided. One staff member who was subjected to a deep tissue massage said she couldn’t find words to express how good it felt and how much it got her to relax.
Member of staff getting a beauty makeover
Staff member getting a massage
Paulette Dixon, Principal (in black) and students of La-Marie Spa Institute