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Justice Ministry launches national referral mechanism to combat human trafficking

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Oct 03,2022 - Last updated at Oct 03,2022

Deputising for Minister of Justice Ahmad Ziadat, Secretary-General for Judicial Affairs Saed Louzi speaks during the launch of the ‘National Referral Mechanism and Standard Operating Procedures in Dealing with Human Trafficking Cases’ in Amman on Monday (Photo courtesy of Justice Ministry)

AMMAN — The Ministry of Justice on Monday launched the “National Referral Mechanism and Standard Operating Procedures in Dealing with Human Trafficking Cases”.

The mechanism was announced during a conference held in Amman in the presence of government officials and ambassadors, as well as representatives of local and international non-profit organisations. 

Deputising for Minister of Justice Ahmad Ziadat, Secretary General for Judicial Affairs Saed Louzi spoke during the event. 

He described the aforementioned referral mechanism as a “pioneering step” towards coordinating efforts to provide human trafficking victims with support in order to “enable and reintegrate them into society or facilitate their safe return to their country of origin”.

He added that the newly instituted referral mechanism is part of a series of steps the government has taken towards fighting human trafficking.

These involve establishing an assistance fund for victims of human trafficking (VoTs) to provide them with the necessary financial support and introducing the amended legislation, which increases penalties for the perpetrators of this crime, and provides better care and protection for VoTs. 

The legislation also provides for the appointment of specialised prosecutors and judges to handle human trafficking cases.

Using the national referral mechanism to the fullest “requires the joining of efforts between governmental, regional and international institutions” combined with “the constant and intensive training of the employees of relevant organisations” to combat this crime.

Representative of the Swiss Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Swiss Ambassador to Jordan and Iraq Emilija Georgieva said that “human trafficking is a violation of human rights and a serious crime of global dimensions. It concerns Switzerland, Jordan and every country around the world”.

Switzerland, which is funding UNODC to support Jordan’s implementation of the national referral mechanism, is committed to promoting efforts directed towards countering trafficking as an “important pillar of [its] bilateral corporation” with Jordan. 

The ambassador also said that ensuring “that the first responders, including the border police and healthcare workers… are well informed and equipped with the right tools… to identify potential victims and coordinate the necessary response” is a crucial step in combating this crime.

She concluded by commending Jordan on its “continued commitment to taking decisive action against human trafficking”.

According to Mirna Bouhabib, deputy Regional Representative of UNODC, the launch was organised by UNODC, in cooperation with the National Anti-trafficking Commission headed by the Ministry of Justice, under the auspices of the “Meeting the Increasing Needs for Protection and Assistance for Refugees and Homeless Persons Vulnerable to Human Trafficking” project, which targets Jordan and Lebanon. 

In her speech, Bouhabib pointed out that the risk of human trafficking has been amplified by “the successive humanitarian crises”, which have afflicted the region due to “political and armed conflicts, leading to the displacement of millions of people and forcing them to migrate” in search of the right to a safe and dignified life.

She added that the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2020, issued by UNODC, recorded 534 different trafficking flows around the world. It also indicated that the number of detected child victims of trafficking has tripled over the last 15 years, 

Director of the Human Rights Directorate at the Ministry of Justice Hanan Al Khalayleh presented a brief on the pillars of the national referral mechanism and its activation plan, while Mohanad Dweikat, a UNODC expert, highlighted the most prominent regional practices in regard to national referral mechanisms in dealing with cases of human trafficking.

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