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The youthful 2018 Mandela Washington Fellows (MWF) are scheduled to launch own website in Ghanzi in three weeks time,on the 30th July at the commemoration of the World Day on Human Trafficking. The website aims to raise young people’s level of awareness on issues relating to human trafficking.
Moreover, the website is expected to provide basic but resourceful information for civil society organizations (CSOs) and interested stakeholders such as researchers, on international standard operating procedures for handling of queries and cases involving the trafficking of persons.
This was stated by Dr Boitumelo Tau, one of the Fellows of the MWF which is a flagship leadership progamme of the Young African Leaders Initiate (YALI) launched by former president of the United States Government, Barack Obama in 2014.
She explained, “Our prime audience is the youth as we believe they are the most vulnerable group next only to women in line of exposure to the risk of being trafficked. Thus the idea is to provide as much information as is practicable through the website so that they can appreciate what it involves and its implications for other aspects of their lives.”
In the same vein, it is intended according to Tau, to compensate for the absence at the moment of an information and research centre in the country which would enable those who want to research more on the problem of trafficking in persons.
“Worth noting as well is the fact that we are currently working on a digital toolkit which we intend to be hosted by the website under discussion. Integrated into the kit would among other features be included social media linkable icons for Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn to foster improved awareness and communication with our audience,” NWF Official explained enthusiastically.
She pointed out that this would translate into an informative and user-friendly browsing experience for their target audience as well as interested stakeholders.
Through the toolkit CSOs and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) and other role players would be able to access Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to help them expedite response and fast track processes to conclude cases or rehabilitative services where required.
Botswana has been cited by two consecutive reports on the state of Human Trafficking around the world internationally, as a source, transit and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.
Unemployed women and the rural poor, agricultural workers and children in particular have been pointed as the most vulnerable to the scourge now referred to as modern slavery.
Madoda Nasha, Deputy Manager, Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Unit in the Ministry of Defense, justice and Security (MDJS) has confirmed they were in partnership with MWF.
He said, “Indeed in partnership with the Embassy of the United States and the Botswana Government - through MDJS and other government ministries and civil society entities, they conduct awareness trainings among vulnerable communities and the youth on human trafficking in Botswana”.
“We hope their project will go a long towards helping the partnership, of which we (MDJS) are the coordinators to achieve our objective of creatingawareness,” concluded Nasha.
The virtual TIP toolkit is generally viewed as an invaluable resource for helping CSOs and victims of TIP, connecting them with additional available resources and sharing info-graphics as well as other visuals.