THE government has expressed its commitment to address challenges it recently cited in the new National Guidelines for the Establishment and Management of Safe Houses for Victims of Trafficked Persons and Survivors of Violence.
Speaking during the launch of the guideline here, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr John Jingu said the new approach will cover establishment and operation of homes for elders, homeless people and victims of abuses and human trafficking.
He said the introduction of the new regulations comes as a result of private entities such as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), religious organizations and individuals concentrating on offering their services to the individuals, hence, require a manual to guide them.
“The national guidelines among others ban running these shelters as business premises. They must be established and run as service oriented to the recipients, who deserve to benefit from them,” he said.
“No any kind of fees or contribution should be levied on residents of homes housing senior citizens, rehabilitation centres for children, safe homes for victims of gender-based violence such as female genital mutilation, rape, early pregnancy and those rescued from domestic abuse and human trafficking,” pointed out Dr Jingu.
However, he noted that those willing to establish such centres will have to be vetted first and if approved, will be served with the code of conduct to abide by, whose failure would mean closing their facilities and penalizing them.
“Let me use this opportunity to alert those offering the services and whoever wants to do the same to read the regulations first to avoid being on the wrong side of the law” cautioned the PS.
He said a recent study showed that with more organizations and individuals setting up Safe Houses for Victims of Trafficked Persons and Survivors of Violence, if not properly supervised and managed, it would attract more people into the activity as if it is business not service provision.
“For instance, while the government operates 17 homes for the elderly, private operators run 18 facilities for the same seniors and the needy, besides multiple shelters for victims of a range of abuses. “Quality social security service is crucial for the prosperity of any nation. If these services are weak, the nation cannot claim to be strong,” he said.
Elaborating, Dr Jingu further said the guidelines make clear distinctions of roles of a Social Worker and Community Development Officer, a line that was previously not clear, adding that this will help, not only the workers to understand their duties better, but social welfare colleges to see how to improve their curricula.
Speaking at the event, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission in Tanzania, Dr Qasim Sufi said the regulations have come at the right time and would increase incidents of human rights abuse, including trafficking in persons.