US, Jamaica hold discussions under Child Protection Compact Partnership

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The United States and Jamaica have held the final bilateral dialogue under their Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership, a jointly developed plan signed by both governments in May 2018.

The US State Department said the dialogue on Thursday, which was also attended by representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Warnath Group, focused on “shared accomplishments, challenges, and how to sustain progress toward the objectives of the CPC Partnership”.

It said the dialogue also discussed the achievements and challenges that government stakeholders and implementing partners faced in the last year towards meeting the CPC Partnership’s objectives of strengthening the Jamaican government’s efforts to “effectively investigate, prosecute and convict child traffickers, identify and provide comprehensive trauma-informed care for child victims of these crimes, and prevent child trafficking in all its forms”.

The State Department stated that to date, Washington has invested US$6.7 million in foreign assistance to implement this plan, while relevant Jamaican ministries, departments and agencies have invested staff resources, made in-kind contributions, and provided the operating budget toward the goals and objectives of the CPC Partnership.

The State Department said participants included US Ambassador to Jamaica N Nick Perry, the first Jamaican national to hold the position; Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Cindy Dyer, and Jamaican Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security and Chair of the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) Alison Stone Roofe.

In addition to the opening of multiple child-friendly spaces, supporting the creation and institutionalizing of a National Referral Mechanism, new handbooks, training and learning for multi-disciplinary staff, the State Department said: “there is still work to be completed over the final months by implementing partners.”

It said the Warnath Group will continue to work closely with Jamaican government stakeholders, “as additional training and the opening of more child-friendly spaces are still to be completed, with the goal to strengthen victim and survivor-centered law enforcement efforts and provide support to child victims of trafficking”.

Additionally, the IOM is concluding a nationwide child trafficking prevalence study that will inform government strategies and target support to vulnerable children across Jamaica.

Perry said the United States “remains committed to the long-term success of the partnership” and that “while the CPC Partnership may be coming to an end, it is important to remember that the initiatives under the partnership have been built with sustainability in mind”.

Perry also stated that the US government “will remain a steadfast ally in combating child trafficking”.

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