IOM and Belize Anti-Trafficking Committee Launch Educational Awareness Campaign
(IOM) - IOM and Belize's Anti-Trafficking Committee, made up of government agencies, international agencies and NGOs and chaired by the Ministry of Human Development, have launched an educational media outreach campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking in the country.
With the message "It Could Happen to You" the campaign will reach out to the population via radio spots in English, Spanish, Creole and Hindi, social media, posters and other education materials that will reach an estimated 70 per cent of the population.
The campaign is part of an IOM counter trafficking project financed by the US State Department Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TiP), which is the past 18 months has trained more than 5,000 Belizean officials and representatives of civil society to identify cases of human trafficking, provide protection to victims and prosecute human traffickers.
When the IOM project began in September 2010, baseline data indicated that 10 cases of human trafficking were under investigation; the majority were cases of internal trafficking for sexual exploitation of Belizean girls.
"Sexual tourism in Belize poses one of the major risks for the expansion of this crime in the country. Several human trafficking cases of domestic servitude for labour exploitation in agriculture and other tourism related trades, have also been identified," explains IOM Project Manager Ana Hidalgo.
"This is why we decided that this campaign had to focus on adolescents and young adults, and it includes educational materials that are being distributed in schools," she adds.
Unchosen, an anti-trafficking association based in the United Kingdom that raises awareness about human trafficking through film, documentaries, interviews and Q&A sessions, will be launched in Belize in August and tour the country as part of a national road show.
The Government of Belize is currently drafting a national plan of action to prosecute and convict traffickers, as well as significant amendments to its anti-trafficking in persons legislation.
Belize is a country of origin, transit and destination for men, women, and children subjected to human for sexual exploitation and forced labour.
Foreign women, mainly from Central America, are trafficked to Belize to work in bars, nightclubs, and brothels throughout the country. Foreign men, women and children, from Central America and Asia, migrate voluntarily to Belize in search of work; some may fall victim to forced labour. Children and adults working in the agricultural and fishing sectors are also vulnerable to forced labour.
Follow the campaign on Twitter at http://twitter.com/couldhappentou and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/It-could-happen-to-you/330128570406851.
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