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The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is working assiduously on its action plan to combat human trafficking, and a key component of this involves the training of all officers involved in the fight.

Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Attorney General, Yvette Goddard, emphasised this point today during the opening ceremony for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative two-day virtual Trafficking in Persons Immigration and Customs Officer Training workshop.

She told participants drawn from agencies on the frontline and involved in protecting and detecting any illegal activity infiltrating Barbados’ borders that the offer made by the United States Government, through its United States Agency for International Development to provide funding for training activities, was welcomed. 

Ms. Goddard added: “Over the last few months and especially over the last few weeks, discussions have taken place with officers from the Office of the Attorney General and the organisers and those involved in this effort to formalise the training that is being offered and delivered here today through the American Bar Association. Not only is training a big component of our action plan, but the area of partnership, and that activity is critical in that entire gamut of our outreach and our efforts at partnership.”

The Permanent Secretary said the areas to be covered in the training sessions were designed to ensure that participants gained a greater understanding of the key elements in combatting human trafficking.

“Not only to detect, investigate and assist in prosecution of a crime, but also to be sensitive to the identification, detection and screening of victims.  Indeed, the victim perspective, which is a component in this afternoon’s interviewing training session, is critical to having a successful investigation.

“So, I urge all of you to take full advantage of this opportunity to learn all the ‘ins and outs’ of this very complex area, one which is usually a hidden crime, to learn the differences between trafficking and smuggling, and to recognise how this very much links to all that we are doing in other areas of government to protect our reputation; maintain our high standards as a country strongly committed to human rights and the rule of law,” Ms. Goddard underlined.

She expressed optimism that the training would “piqued their interest in continuous learning on this subject”.

Meanwhile, Director, Latin America and Caribbean Division, Rule of Law Initiative, American Bar Association, Francisco Ciampolini, said his organisation had been working with governments across the world to address different aspects of human trafficking, since the late 1990s.

The organisation’s work, he said, involved providing expertise to government and civil society organisations in their human trafficking efforts; training law enforcement, prosecutors and judges; enhancing institutional coordination; raising public awareness on this issue and developing training materials.

Mr. Ciampolini added that the training sessions were not only fundamental for the Government of Barbados, but also for the victims. The training concludes tomorrow, Wednesday, March 17.


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