Four students from the Hugh Wooding Law School are encouraging the public to join the fight against human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago.
Anessa Anderson and Sharla Weir of Barbados, Stefan Knights from Guyana and Nadia Scott from Trinidad and Tobago designed a project to bring awareness to an issue which is often overlooked in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean:
We believed the subject of human trafficking had not received the level of public appreciation which it deserved and it was our duty to bring awareness to it.
The project was conceived and executed by the students as part of their participation in the law school's Human Rights Law Clinic; they were among 16 students who advocated for various human rights concerns.
The initiative, which was branded “Join The Fight”, consisted of a public service announcement, a short video on human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago, and volunteering their time at an event organised by the Trinidad and Tobago Rape Crisis Society, in which the group assisted in the distribution of learning materials and in role playing. They also advised victims of rape and domestic violence about the human trafficking laws in Trinidad and Tobago. The logo used in the campaign was designed by Dane Elliott-Hamilton, a fellow student at the Hugh Wooding Law School.
Trinidad and Tobago has been described as a destination, source, and transit country for human trafficking, specifically as it relates to forced prostitution, and children and men in conditions of forced labour. The students collaborated with their charity of choice, the Caribbean Umbrella Body for Restorative Behaviour (CURB), providing promotional materials to the organisation and eliciting CURB's expertise as a support body for both criminal offenders and victims in their research for the project:
We identified the CURB as the most prominent NGO which addresses human trafficking at the policy and ground level. […] we volunteered our time with the CURB […] This experience was definitely an amazing one as the members of the group were able to impart knowledge of a critical human rights area in the country and educate the vast number of persons who were in attendance on that day.
The students also created a public service announcement, to be distributed digitally and broadcast on local television stations.
As part of their assessment for the Clinic, the students visited primary and secondary schools, delivering presentations on various human rights issues and distributing a brochure about human trafficking, in order to raise awareness about the gravity of this modern-day form of slavery.
A short documentary on the issue of human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago formed the final component of the students’ project.
On completion of the project, the students said of their experience:
This project has made us aware of a myriad of things, it has allowed us develop new skills and sharpen existing ones.
This new generation of aspiring attorneys is revolutionising what it means to be custodians of the law, which sometimes involves being the voice of the voiceless. Students of the High Wooding Law School have already advocated against bullying, which they see as a critical human rights issue. Other projects they have undertaken include speaking out about pressing issues such as domestic violence and gay rights. The Global Voices Caribbean team will highlight these projects as part of this series.