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Two New Child-Friendly Spaces Opened

Two Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) were officially opened at separate locations in the corporate area, as part of efforts to effectively respond to victims of child trafficking.

The facilities, funded by the Warnath Group, are located at the National Children’s Registry (NCR) and the Glenhope Child Care Facility.

The spaces created are directly for the interviewing and screening of suspected and confirmed child trafficking victims, and other vulnerable children, who may be in need of care and protection.

It will also be accessible to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), and other child protection organisations in the government’s heightened response to child trafficking.

In her remarks at the opening ceremony held at National Children’s Registry in Kingston on December 15, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Youth, Hon. Marsha Smith said the facilities will be transformative for children in need of support

“The partnership has allowed us to build capacities human and infrastructural, to respond to the victims of child trafficking in a manner that provides a sense of safety, stability, and our professionals are able to deliver service to our children in need,” Ms. Smith said.

A child-friendly space is an environment designed to help children who are victims of crime to feel safe, calm, and comfortable while interacting with professionals, including law enforcement officers, social workers, healthcare professionals and prosecutors.

Children who access the facilities will also be able to get counselling, emotional support, crisis intervention, court preparation, and victim advocacy for child victims of crime, including human trafficking. Five other facilities have been established across the island.

For his part, United States (US) Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency, N. Nick Perry said the opening of the two facilities is another signal of the US’s commitment to supporting the Jamaican Government, and people “in efforts to minimise the trauma for children who have been impacted by crime and other challenges that make growing up more daunting than any child should face”.

In May 2018, the Government of Jamaica and the Government of the United States entered a four-year Child Protection Compact (CPC), aimed at strengthening Jamaica’s capability to respond to incidents of child trafficking.

Specifically, the US-Jamaica Child Protection Compact is geared at expanding the capacity of stakeholders primarily along the three ‘Ps’ of Jamaica’s response to human trafficking, which includes Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.

Under the compact, a number of other initiatives, inclusive of the CFSs, were funded and executed by the Warnath Group, and implementing partners, Winrock International and the International Organization for Migration