The draft Human Trafficking Protocol is still being finalised and when completed, it will be submitted to the Cabinet of Barbados for approval.

This disclosure came today from Programme Officer with the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Patricia Hackett-Codrington, after the opening ceremony for a two-day Human Trafficking workshop at Almond Bay.

Mrs. Hackett-Codrington told the media: "Barbados is drafting a piece of legislation [and], working on the draft protocol which will go alongside that legislation and we are proposing to formalise the Coalition that is working in the area of trafficking."

She said the Bureau had several meetings with some of its key stakeholders, namely legal, social services and the non-governmental organisations, for input into the protocol. She added that a cabinet paper was being prepared for government to formalise the Coalition, which worked with the Bureau when Barbados signed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons in 2003.

The Coalition involves the Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Bureau, the Immigration Department, and the Royal Barbados Police Force, among others.

Project Manager in the Counter-Trafficking Programme Unit of the International Organisation for Migration, Chissey Mueller, said an exploratory assessment looking at the crime of trafficking in persons was carried out in 2005 and indicated that Barbados "is primarily a destination country", which means that there is a possibility that people are being trafficked to Barbados.

But, Ms. Mueller noted that no country had mastered compiling research and data to inform about its human trafficking situation.

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