The sex industry carries a price tag of $32 billion annually, with about 27 million men, women and children being trafficked.
This is according to Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, who lamented the fact that these figures did not produce evidence about the level of trafficking within the Caribbean. ???I don???t have a sense as to the extent of the problem in Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados or CARICOM,??? he said.
Mr. Brathwaite made these comments today as he addressed The Maria Holder Memorial Trust Live Up: The Show workshop which was organised by the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS at the Savannah Hotel.
The Minister, who is also Chairman of the National Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking, threw out the challenge for someone to take ownership of finding out the extent of human trafficking in the Caribbean and Barbados. ???We don???t live in isolation, and we recognise that what is happening in the world must also be happening at our doorsteps,??? he stated.
He warned that it would be ???foolish??? not to accept that Barbados and the Caribbean would have the same issues that were occurring across the world and was of the view that they needed to be addressed from inception.
Mr. Brathwaite said the Caribbean was known for its sun, sea and sex, and pointed out that not everyone involved in transactional sex was doing it willingly, and illustrated the fact that some children were being exploited by family members as a form of income generation.
However, he advised those responsible for spreading the message to look at the forms of their messages, and seek out the young people. ???You need to go where they go ??? on Facebook, Twitter, at football games and karaoke sessions,??? he stated.
He added that teenage pregnancies showed that there was still a wide incidence of teenagers having unprotected sex. ???This is nothing new. We are seeing more openness among the young people, almost as if it is a right for them to be sexually active,??? he said.
But, the Attorney General pointed out that with the images being shown on television, it was not by accident that young people were becoming involved in sexual activity. ???It is in their faces all the time,??? he noted.
He added that while there were some messages about abstinence, and protection, there was a need to look at other forms of messages to reach the youth.