New beginnings, connections, and definitions

The moment I finished my 1L year law school finals, I was incredibly excited to start my internship the next week. Though it is remote instead of the “normal” in-field experience as this internship usually is, the work I’m a part of couldn’t be more worthy in my opinion. And, bonus, it gives me the flexibility to take care of my family and other job requirements since I’ve been state-side and not in Jamaica. My physical “coworkers,” are children ready for the summer to start, running in and out of my house (including my own, of course!), and even my neighbor’s dog. This remote environment is a bonding experience between coworkers in and of itself, and it has built connections with several of my coworkers dealing with similar situations.


The project that I’m working on, the Jamaica Child Protection Compact (CPC), is a US-Jamaica initiative to eradicate child trafficking in Jamaica. The project focuses on the three pillars of Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution. The NGO I’m working with, Winrock International, is focused on the first two pillars or Prevention and Protection, and my assigned tasks consist mainly of conducting quantitative research, interviews and writing reports on the needs of the tourist industry with respect to anti-trafficking resources focused on prevention and identifying of possible child trafficking victims. You can learn more about the project here: Winrock Jamaica CPC


My first two weeks were spent in research- looking at Jamaican government websites, Jamaican law defining trafficking, and global research on child trafficking from various international organizations to build a cohesive picture of the resources available to the tourism industry in Jamaica to combat child-trafficking.


In the process, I learned that just defining trafficking, and specifically child trafficking, can be complicated. While most countries base their standards on the United Nations definition, some nations like the United States define trafficking slightly differently under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (more information here: TVPA), especially as it pertains to children, and this can have consequences for identifying trafficking in a given country, as well as consequences for the victims themselves, such as this story: NPR, How Child Trafficking is Prosecuted


For my particular project, since it is a joint initiative between the United States and Jamaica and the definition of child as it pertains to age as well as the fact that different acts considered trafficking differ between the United States and Jamaica, this creates a challenge for not only prosecuting trafficking, but providing resources for identification, as some types of trafficking as defined by the US may be prosecuted under different laws not pertaining to trafficking in Jamaica, and some international resources for identification do not fit the Jamaica definition and are not suitable for training key stakeholders to identify trafficking.


At the end of my first two weeks, I presented my initial background research findings to an international team, and started the next phase of my project: interviewing Jamaican tourism stakeholders about the resources that work best for them. I can’t wait to share my experiences with this process in my next blog!