FSMDOJ (October 25, 2013): On October 22, a panel of Traditional Leaders of Pohnpei met with the FSM Secretary of Justice along with senior staff members from the Division of National Police to discuss a proposed national anti-human trafficking campaign and seek assistance from the Traditional Leaders in launching the campaign. The meeting was chaired by the Honorable Salvador Iriarte, Iso Nahnken of Nett Municipality. The Chair expressed his greetings and appreciation of the presence of the Traditional Leaders, the FSM Secretary of Justice, National Police, Senator Nakasone, IOM representative Emeliana Musrasrik, and those representing Pohnpei State agencies.
The Chair thanked Ms. April Dawn Skilling, the FSM Secretary of Justice, and thanked her for her efforts in combating human trafficking in Pohnpei State and there rest of the FSM. Following the exchange of formalities, Secretary Skilling conveyed her appreciation for the opportunity to meet with the Traditional Leaders. She then provided a concise definition of human trafficking and human smuggling and informed the Leaders that all four States and the National Government have passed anti-human trafficking legislations.
The Traditional Leaders received copies of the National law and Pohnpei state law governing human trafficking as well as supporting documentation including the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, as it relates to the FSM, and a summary of the Tier system world-wide ranking of countries in their fight against human trafficking. Secretary Skilling explained the Tier system ranking and discussed steps necessary to move the FSM off the Tier Two Watchlist. The Traditional Leaders were informed that if the FSM remained on the Tier Two Watchlist another year, it would automatically be downgraded to Tier 3, which could affect the receipt of all non-humanitarian aid from the United States.
More importantly, discussions took place that included the need to protect FSM citizens from being trafficked within and outside of the country. Secretary Skilling explained that allegations of trafficking in persons for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor had surfaced and were being investigated in several FSM states.
Two short video public service announcements were shown to the Traditional Leaders in further explanation of human trafficking and its devastating effects on society, communities, and the individual victims. A matrix explained the results of a survey they conducted showing what services and assistance were available in each Pohnpei municipality to assist in the protection of human trafficking victims.
The FSM Department of Justice outlined its proposed national Public Awareness campaign against human trafficking that it intends to launch in January 2014. The campaign is based upon the United Nations Blue Heart campaign and the UK Human Trafficking Centre Blue Blindfold campaign. The proposed campaign will include a nation-wide poster contest for 8th through 12th graders, a Presidential Declaration for a national anti-human trafficking day and a request for a Congressional resolution in support of it, blue heart pins, public service announcements, and community-based discussions involving schools, churches, and other community and civic groups. of the FSM.
The Iso Nahnken explained that the Traditional Leaders had a responsibility to keep their people safe and asked to be kept informed of further developments in the anti-human trafficking campaign spearheaded by the FSM Department of Justice.
The FSM Department of Justice plans to reach out to the leaders and communities in all of the FSM states during the month of November.
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