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Rebuilding, Moving Forward: Strengthening Judicial Capacity To Address Trafficking in Haiti
In Haiti, the IAWJ partnered with its local affiliate association, the Chapitre Haïtien de l’Association Internationale des Femmes Juges/Haitian Association of Women Judges (CHAIFEJ) to cultivate leadership and strengthen the capacity of Haitian judges to properly recognize and decide cases involving human trafficking in the absence of a trafficking-specific law. To implement the program, the two associations launched a judicial training program to inform judges on how they can decide human trafficking cases within Haiti’s existing criminal laws governing abduction and assault, as well as child abuse and neglect.
The IAWJ and CHAIFEJ held initial consultations with local stakeholders (such as magistrates, judges, prosecutors, police officers and social workers) to identify the kinds of trafficking-related cases that were reaching the courts. The result of these efforts was a custom-tailored “train-the-trainers” (3Ts) seminar,
which prepared 28 Haitian judges and magistrates to be facilitators in training their colleagues on human trafficking.The training curriculum primarily focuses on the plight of “restavecs,” children and adolescents who work as domestic servants far from their homes and are vulnerable to abuses that rise to the level of human trafficking.
In 2013 and 2014, CHAIFEJ conducted various Judicial Education Seminars, led by judges trained during the 3Ts in 2012. CHAIFEJ members’ collaboration and commitment to the project’s objectives reflects the positive impact this program is having and the increased judicial capacity of Haitian judges to recognize and address cases of human trafficking in Haiti, despite the absence of a trafficking-specific law.
“Through this training, I learned the definition of the word ‘trafficking,’ the constructive elements of the term, and how to recognize the victims of trafficking. Everyone should participate in this seminar since trafficking is happening every day in Haiti because people do not know the real characteristics of what is happening in front of their eyes.”
- Program participant, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 2013