The LIBERA Foundation Against Trafficking in Persons is Carrying Out, with the Sponsorship of the IAWJ, an Online Course for Judges and Operators of the Latin America and the Caribbean Justice System

On July 30 and 31, 2019, as part of its two-year program, “Countering Trafficking in Persons in the Dominican Republic: Multi-sector Response & Local Resilience in Targeted Vulnerable Communities,” funded by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (JTIP) of the US Department of State, IAWJ convened a regional conference in Santo Domingo on Trafficking in Persons (TIP). This conference was held in collaboration with the Association of Women Judges of the Dominican Republic (AJURD), the Dominican Republic’s (DR) Constitutional Court (TC), the DR’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX), the DR’s Superior Electoral Court (TSE), the Dominican Council of the Judicial Power, IAWJ affiliated associations in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and the United States Embassy in the DR.

One of the key goals of the conference was to initiate dialogue and promote cooperation between key TIP stakeholders throughout the region. The conference sought to create a platform to encourage experts to share their experiences, techniques and innovative approaches to minimizing re-victimization, improving investigations and raising public awareness about human trafficking. Over 150 expert stakeholders from across the region participated, including judges, prosecutors, police officers, advocates and service providers from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guayana, Belize, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the United States.

One of the stakeholders from Chile was a Carolina Rudnick, a representative of LIBERA (another organization that has been a State Department grantee). For the past month, LIBERA has been offering an on-line course of TIP and forced labor in Latin America and the Caribbean. Thanks to connections strengthened at last year’s conference, IAWJ was able to circulate information about the course to its members, and now approximately 20 judges are taking part in the course. At least four are members of the IAWJ through the Chilean Association of Women Judges (MACHI).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the IAWJ has been exploring ways to bring its members together on-line. We were excited to learn of an online TIP course focused on judges and operators of the LAC Justice system, that purports to address the issue from a multidisciplinary perspective and introduce participants into the new international legal frameworks of the duties of protection and respect of both the state and businesses. The course has garnered some excellent speakers and used technology to facilitate small group discussions.

LIBERA and the IAWJ are working together on a virtual conference July 30 and 31 of this year, which will be a reunion for IAWJ’s Spanish speaking members who attended last year, and a culmination point for the participants in LIBERA’s on-line course. The conference will be open to all of the IAWJ’s Spanish-speaking members without charge.

As we all live with the shared challenges presented by the current health situation, we will continue to explore ways to bring members together to share experiences and best practices around the issues we care about. We will continue to seek out partnerships and opportunities in which our members can share.