NAATIP Trains Shelter Staff on Victim-Centered, Trauma-Informed Care Approaches

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By Ndey Sowe

Under its mandate to combat trafficking in persons in The Gambia and as part of its strategy to raise awareness, the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP), on Tuesday, 26 September organised a one-day training for Shelter staff on victim-centered and trauma-informed care approaches for victims of trafficking in persons.

Trafficking in Persons is a grave violation of human rights and has severe consequences for the physical, psychological, and social well-being of its victims. Millions of people, primarily women, and children, are trafficked annually for various purposes, including forced labour and sexual exploitation.

Addressing the needs of these victims is a pressing concern that requires an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach, and part of the role of the shelter staff is to provide support to residents of the shelter; to help maintain order in the shelter, and to help residents achieve success in transitioning to a better state of living.

NAATIP as the leading agency mandated to prevent, protect and prosecute perpetrators against trafficking in persons in The Gambia, is unwavering in its commitment to combat this heinous crime, by safeguarding the rights and dignity of those most susceptible. The fight against trafficking in human beings is a priority task of the Government of The Gambia and the government has committed resources in this regard and is resolved to continue its efforts and prosecute perpetrators.

Isatou Dabo, the Executive Director of NAATIP said the training is very important in the sense that each and every Shelter staff plays a vital role in the protection of victims of trafficking in persons.

“It is well understood that the Shelter provides service for vulnerable adults and other individuals that may need safe environments,” she indicated.  She however said that victims of trafficking more often than not, are also housed at the shelter in which they (the participants) operate. In this regard, she emphasised the importance for them to understand the dynamics of trafficking in persons and know that there is a requirement that victims of trafficking are treated in a particular manner, based on their needs, trauma, and experiences they have gone through, which needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to dealing with victims of trafficking in persons.

She reiterated that the care required and the quality of service for trafficking in victims needs to be tailor-made. While assuring that the training will not be the last, Ms Darboe said this will be part of the training, and all subsequent ones that they will be holding will be centered on how they can improve the quality of service that is being provided by the Shelter staff, among others.