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Rapha International and GI-TOC partnership in the field: Responding to sexual exploitation and trafficking in Haiti

Rapha International, has paired up with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) .to provide support to women and girls in the wake of the recent earthquake in Haiti. Both organizations have taken part in the Stakeholder Engagement for UNTOC (SE4U) trainings. GI-TOC and Rapha are both key partners in the SE4U project and are therefore able to apply the lessons learned from this project to the successful implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) around the world.

Through its Resilience Fund, GI-TOC finances organizations’ field operations. Having engaged with Rapha International in different networks, they had a strong basis to establish a new partnership in Haiti as a result of their participation in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) SE4U trainings in the past. The organizations united their efforts to launch projects in Haiti after a devastating earthquake hit the country in August 2021. The main aim is to support women and girls who have suffered sexual exploitation or trafficking before being violently driven out of their communities, often leaving all their possessions behind.

These efforts meet the short-term needs of survivors and seek to break the cycle of exploitation and inequality that has gripped marginalized communities for decades. The projects assist trauma survivors with psychosocial and medical care, relocate displaced families, promote economic opportunities among female heads of households and seek to establish positive social norms within these gang-affected neighbourhoods.

Thirty women, heads of households and members of displaced families are receiving income-enhancement support to alleviate the underlying socio-economic vulnerability that would lead to further exploitation. As a result of this support, small businesses are being created to provide a sustainable source of income for these 150 people to meet their basic needs.

Medical services provided to 30 young adolescent girls – survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking – have been instrumental in addressing sexually transmitted diseases and women’s health issues among the victims. These adolescent girls are also able to use trauma-coping mechanisms through psychosocial services. Meanwhile, community members and leaders have received training on building social norms that deter violence against girls and women as well as the recruiting of children into organized crime groups.

Both Rapha International and GI-TOC are members of the WhatsOn platform, a knowledge- sharing hub aimed at facilitating connection and engagement of relevant non-government stakeholders working to prevent and counter transnational organized crime and corruption conducive to organized crime. The platform facilitates sharing of information and greater collaboration among its members. Rapha International and GI-TOC's partnership had a positive impact on the particular situations of victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking and more broadly on combatting and preventing organized crime in Haiti and showed what can be achieved in the areas with high crime rates and socio-economic fallout during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Rapha International profile on WhatsOn
Gi-TOC profile on WhatsOn