COMBATTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Barbados’ legislation in this area is the Trafficking in Persons Prevention Act (2016-19) which came into force on June 9, 2016. It is in keeping with the definition of trafficking in persons in the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol).
Sections 3-9 create the offence of trafficking in persons and sets the penalties for the range of offences. The act also sets out the Government’s obligations with respect to the protection and safety of victims (Sections 15-18).
The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol) November 2000 is the main international instrument dealing with trafficking in persons and provided the first internationally agreed definition:
Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.
Since December 2019 the Office of the Attorney General is the Secretariat for the National Task Force against Trafficking in Persons.
In 2013 the National Task Force on the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons was established. The Task Force was reconstituted in 2019 and is chaired by the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, the Hon. Dale D. Marshall, QC, MP.
The members of the Task Force are:
- The Permanent Secretary, Office of the Attorney-General or representative;
- The Permanent Secretary, People Empowerment and Elder Affairs or representative;
- The Commissioner of Police, Royal Barbados Police Force or representative;
- The Chief Immigration Officer or representative;
- The Chief Welfare Officer or representative;
- The Director, Bureau of Gender Affairs or representative; and
- A Representative from the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados;
A 2-year National Action Plan was approved by Cabinet on 25 March 2021.
The Plan has been developed around the 4Ps that guide the response to Human Trafficking – Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership and is geared towards meeting the 3Rs of Rescue, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of victims.
It shows Barbados’ commitment to addressing issues of concern such as identification of victims and/or potential victims of trafficking; strengthening of the national referral system which is intended to provide a range of social and legal services to support victims; and undertaking an extensive public education programme to sensitise and educate Barbadians to issues related to human trafficking.
The Government continued implementing its National Action Plan specifically in the following areas:
- Work was started by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) on a typology of Trafficking in Persons in Barbados. It is being developed from analysis of Suspicious Transaction Reports and engagement with Law Enforcement Agencies including the Sex Crimes and Trafficking Unit and the Financial Crimes Investigations Unit. The FIU also referred the FATF 2018 Report on Financial Flows from Human Trafficking.
- The Prevention Sub-Committee continued its Public Education Sessions with two outreach activities at Sheraton Mall and Sky Mall, on 29 July 2022, which involved the distribution of memorabilia and brochures. In addition, a team from Double Laugh Productions performed a riveting skit at Sheraton, entitled: Human Trafficking – Know the Signs.
- The Government Information Service (GIS) assisted the Prevention Sub-Committee with sensitising the Barbadian public about Trafficking in Persons by undertaking and/or coordinating various activities:
- Eighteen tips were created and aired on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. They were aired from April 21 to May 19, 2022, while some were repeated during that period.
- Radio and television PSAs were aired at various intervals during the year, including in December.
- Thirteen graphics were created and posted on the social media platform throughout the year, including early in January 2023.
- A Human Trafficking page has been created on the BGIS website and it contains stories, videos and audio recordings.
- There is a playlist on YouTube @thebgis
- There is a playlist on Soundcloud.
- Press releases were written on activities held during the year. Co-ordinated the attendance of members of the media to cover the events.
- The sensitisation skit on human trafficking which was performed in the busy Sheraton Centre on July 29 was recorded and uploaded on the BGIS social media platform.
The below links are to the human trafficking page on the BGIS website, the playlist on YouTube and playlist on SoundCloud.