March 4, 2022 – Warnath Group partners with the U.S. and Jamaican governments on the establishment of a child-friendly space at the police station in Falmouth, Jamaica.
We encourage you to contact us with questions or to learn more about our professional education and advisory services in the development of child-friendly spaces.
The Warnath Group is an organization specialized in developing and implementing customized, evidence-based programs to address trafficking in persons, including child trafficking. We have worked in diverse settings to successfully develop child-friendly spaces for child trafficking victims. This includes the facilitation of frontline working groups and multidisciplinary teams and providing training and technical assistance for practitioners to put protocols and practices into action.
Child-friendly spaces play an important role in the protection of child trafficking victims. They are critical to supporting trauma-informed interactions and safeguarding the rights of child trafficking victims.
Child trafficking victims are uniquely affected by trafficking experiences due to their age and inherent vulnerability. This requires that special and additional measures be implemented to ensure the safety and well-being of child trafficking victims at every stage of their lives after trafficking. These measures are needed in relation to:
- identification and immediate first steps
- protection and support
- non-criminalization and non-detention
- supporting children as victim-witnesses
- recovery and reintegration of child trafficking victims
At all of these stages, child-friendly spaces are important. For example, conducting victim identification and interviews in a child-friendly space, with trained and sensitized practitioners and according to established standards, is key in creating a sense of safety that can lead to disclosure of harm.
Offering protection and immediate support to child trafficking victims in a child-friendly space can aid practitioners in ensuring the best interests of the child.
Trafficked children should not be criminalized or held liable for any offenses that they were forced to commit while trafficked. If they are not able to return home, they should be placed in appropriate child-friendly accommodation – with any decision to place trafficked children in a shelter made on a case-by-case basis and only in their best interests.
Child-friendly spaces should be utilized in prosecutor offices and courtrooms to protect and support children who are serving as victim-witnesses.
And finally, child-friendly spaces can promote the longer-term recovery and reintegration of child trafficking victims, not only in the places where they receive services, but also in the places where they rebuild their lives – from classrooms to community facilities to youth centers.
Our model for developing, improving, and maintaining a child-friendly space is the 4S approach:
- SPACE – making the physical space where practitioners interact with children a safe, child-friendly, and positive environment.
- STAFF – ensuring that all practitioners who interact with child trafficking victims are trained to understand child trafficking, child protection, trauma-informed practices, children’s rights, and child-friendly interactions and communication.
- STANDARDS – having protocols and policies in place to guide all interactions with children and upkeep of the space.
- SUSTAINABILITY – maintaining child-friendly spaces over time and in response to any changes or challenges that arise.