In the San Martín region of Peru, our Access to Justice team collaborates with “Red Escolar Todos Unidos Contra la Trata” (Scholarly Network All United Against Trafficking), known as RETUCT.
A Bit of Background
Originally founded by Peace and Hope, this organization has evolved into a citizen group comprising students, principals, teachers, and parents from 62 educational allies across 5 provinces, working in conjunction with the local educational government. The fundamental philosophy of the RETUCT network revolves around prevention through community accompaniment and empowerment. To address issues of violence and human trafficking, they utilize workshops for students and teachers, create relevant materials, and facilitate spaces for specialists to collaborate and form action networks. This concerted effort is driven by student leaders, who actively participate in choosing event names and logos, electing a board of student directors, leading actions, and suggesting themes for discussion, such as domestic abuse, teen pregnancy, and the growing concern of bullying since the pandemic. Empowering students not only helps deter human trafficking but also equips them with strategies to positively impact their peers and families.
During June and July of 2023, we organized a series of four workshops titled “Fortifying our Superpowers as Leaders of RETUCT” in the cities of Moyobamba and Tarapoto, Peru. In these workshops, students engage in pedagogically designed activities that challenge them to recognize and enhance their soft skills, promote leadership and teamwork qualities, foster complex problem-solving abilities, and educate them about various forms of violence and avoidance methods. The underlying objective is to break the cycle of human trafficking, which exploits primarily girls, boys, teenagers, and women as objects of unskilled labor, by instilling in them renewed self-awareness, community awareness, and confidence in their abilities. Simultaneously, teachers and parents attended sessions conducted by a professional psychologist to learn about prevention strategies and how to support students facing crises. This initiative is a part of the network’s effort to address trafficking risk factors, including weak institutions and harsh disciplinary practices. By the end of these workshops, we encouraged teachers to make tangible commitments to the well-being of their students.
The forthcoming projects entail micro-meetings to monitor the implementation of the Community Action Plan (CAP), a document prepared by students and approved by the Regional Directorate of Education and teachers of Educational Institutions. The CAP encompasses student-directed activities, ranging from musical presentations to podcasts, that will be conducted within their schools. Our Access to Justice team will extend its support to this initiative and continue hosting requested workshops. Additionally, in September, in collaboration with the Regional Commission for the Fight against Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants, they will present research on labor exploitation conducted the previous year. The collaboration of Peace and Hope with RETUCT is a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking and promote a safer society for everyone.
-Written by Katie Wilcox, Paz y Esperanza & Human Needs and Global Resources Intern
You can contribute to this work or learn about other ways to get involved on our website.