PORT ANTONIO, Portland — Port Antonio High School is set to create history as the first school in the island to establish a Anti-Human Trafficking Club targeting Grades 10 and 11 students.
The school is being assisted in the establishment of the club by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Carl Berry who is the head of the Anti-Human Trafficking unit within the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
DSP Berry, whose task, among others, is to educate Jamaicans on the dangers and cruelty of human trafficking, explained that the idea of creating the club came about at a recent seminar he hosted on behalf of the JCF, which was attended by principal of Port Antonio High, Basil Graham, teachers Kerine Grant and Fitzroy Johnson along with some students.
“Many people simply do not understand the horrible nature of human trafficking, so when they hear about the cruelty meted out to others right here in our land for the first time, they are shocked.
“Some respond and thankfully Port Antonio High has responded with the idea of establishing an Anti-Human Trafficking Club and for sure, I will be working with the principal, the teachers and students to make this project an active reality.
“This is a game-changer to have human trafficking exposed in our schools and I want to thank Port Antonio High for this timely initiative,” Berry shared with the Observer North & East.
Grant then revealed the progress of the club at Port Antonio High as it moves towards its official launch.
“The students are very enthused and are anxiously awaiting the official launch. They meet on Thursdays, with the idea of the club being to help students and community members become aware of the different ways human trafficking can occur. It is about getting the school community and the wider society aware of this dangerous and cruel modern-day activity,” Grant pointed out.
The club's objectives as listed on its charter are:
– Making the school community and the wider society aware of this modern-day activity;
– recruit and encourage students, parents, community members and other stakeholders at large to support the cause to stop human trafficking;
– reduce the number of humans who become victims of human trafficking;
– develop a strong fraternity against human trafficking, locally and globally;
– be a role model for other schools in setting up Anti-Human Trafficking clubs.
The club's mission statement reads “…a volunteer fraternity that seeks to collaborate with agencies, victims and the society at large in eradicating human trafficking through education.”
Johnson pointed out that the students are indeed excited about the formation of the club.
“The members of the club are aware and this is not just for the school but for looking in their communities by educating members of the community in their homes and districts to stop this process. Human trafficking comes in many forms like child labour and abuse and we want to get an end to this and let people be aware in order to create better communities,” Johnson said.