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JTA, US teachers join anti child-trafficking fight

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2013 | 5:29 PM

The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) and the American Federation of Teachers have announced a joint project to combat child trafficking in both countries.

The two unions signed the agreement for the project at the JTA’s annual conference now underway in Ocho Rios, St Ann.

The US teachers’ union said the pilot project will use materials to be developed by the two groups as well as government and non-governmental organizations.

The project is expected to, among other things, raise awareness among students about the dangers of trafficking for forced labour or sexual exploitation and provide educators with resources to identify children who might be at risk.

According to the US teachers’ union, a recent study found that between 2006 and 2010, 4,70 children in Jamaica were reported missing — 70 percent of whom were girls.

The US Justice Department estimates that as many as 300,000 US children are at risk of being trafficked.

According to the union, several international bodies have found that trafficking of children from rural areas into tourist areas for sexual exploitation is a serious problem in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean.

President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, says the project suggests that the unions are serious about finding solutions to reclaim the promise of public education for every child in every community.


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