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IOM, Jordan raise awareness of human trafficking in refugee, host communities


( IOM ) - IOM and Jordan's Anti-Human Trafficking Department held two community activity days in February in Mafraq, near the Syrian border.

The main goal of the campaign was to sensitize communities in Mafraq with regard to the types of trafficking and exploitation, how to identify them, and how to report trafficking crimes. It offered a public forum as an awareness-raising platform to inform participants of the dangers of human trafficking.

The initiative was part of a broader counter-trafficking project IOM is undertaking with the Jordanian Government in areas with high concentrations of Syrian refugees.

Other activities will also include holding trafficking awareness raising sessions and how to combat trafficking for locals and Syrians, as well as capacity-building sessions for Jordanian Government officials.

"We also use other means to reinforce the message," said IOM project manager Dr. Amira Mohamed. "For example, hygiene kits that we are distributing to households carry simple slogans written in Arabic and in English about the dangers posed by trafficking and how to combat it."

IOM took also advantage of the campaign to bring together members of the community to participate in cleaning up the city of Mafraq for two full days under the slogan: " Together we keep our city clean."

Waste management and pollution have become increasingly important issues in the area as the city's population has grown by 130 per cent due to the crisis in Syria and the influx of Syrian refugees.

This is putting a strain on the already weak local infrastructure. As an incentive for engagement, IOM is distributing hygiene materials, household items and even cash for rent to vulnerable Syrian and Jordanian families.

"Beyond the campaign, this is also a way to encourage civic cooperation between local Jordanians and the Syrian refugees," said Dr. Mohamed.

The first day brought together 600 people from Mafraq, including students and families from both the Syrian refugee and host communities.