[WATCH] Educational campaign on human trafficking to be launched next week

Reforms Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli said that Malta’s biggest problem as regards human trafficking was a lack of knowledge on the part of the public

The government will be embarking on an educational campaign, called Human Like You, that will be looking to educate people on how to spot potential cases of human trafficking around them, Reforms Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli said on Thursday. 

Speaking on current affairs programme Xtra, Farrugia Portelli said that one of the biggest problems Malta faced in this regard was a lack of awareness.

“Our aim is to start from the very basics. How can our parents who stay home tell that next door to them there is someone who might have been trafficked? What are the signs?” she said  

Farrugia Portelli stressed that over 40 million people were trafficked worldwide every year, with Malta also having its own problems.

She said she was convinced that campaign would change the way people behaved when it came to carers or foreign workers, for example.

The parliamentary secretary suggested that some people did not know that it was unacceptable to take away a carer’s passport or to expect them to be available 24 hours a day.

She also stressed the need for various ministries working together in order to streamline the authorities’ response to human trafficking incidents.

Farrugia Portelli explained that there were different types of human trafficking, ranging from people being trafficked to be used as sex workers to children abducted to fight as soldiers or to have their organs harvested and sold on the black market.

Despite this, she said it was still important for the population to be aware of these realities, especially when considering that the Maltese were increasingly travelling abroad.

More common, she said, were cases were people might have been promised work as a waiter only for them to end up having their documents stolen and being forced to do dangerous jobs with no rights.

The government, she said, wanted the economy to continue growing, but this did not mean that it could allow a situation where everything is acceptable.

She stressed that every worker needed to be given an employment permit, and needed to know what their rights are. The campaign, she said, would see a website and helpline being set up to inform workers of these rights.