Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite (head of table), in discussion with members of the National Task Force for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons at the group’s inaugural meeting. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Barbados is looking to take a more humane approach when dealing with victims of human trafficking.

Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, said he would make no apologies for saying that victims of human trafficking were not accorded their basic fundamental human rights.

"In Barbados, our response seems to be put them on flights back out the country, as opposed to seeing them as victims and dealing with them as such, by giving them all the attendant necessities to make them better off as a result of our intervention," he said.

The Attorney General was speaking recently to the Barbados Government Information Service at the inaugural meeting of the National Task Force for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons.

Explaining that the role of the Task Force was to create and develop a National Plan, so "Barbados could respond to the whole issue of trafficking in persons," Mr. Brathwaite, who chairs the Committee, added "to date there was no co-ordinated strategy, so we want to ensure that we get it right.

"For example, if they [the victims] are in need of medical attention, then we need to ensure that they get it… if the victims are children, then, while they are here, we need to make sure they are educated; and if the victims are minors then we are expected to provide housing, and I do not mean housing them in detention centres nor housing them at Dodds. We need to make sure that the agencies understand that they have tenant rights, as well as free health care, and really the plan is to ensure that the response is coordinated and that all the actors involved understand their responsibility," the Attorney General underscored.

Representatives from the13-member body include the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development; and Family, Culture, Sports and Youth.?? Officials from the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Immigration Department, the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados and the Barbados Red Cross are also represented on the body.

Barbados signed the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, on September 26, 2001.

Human trafficking is a crime in which traffickers profit from the exploitation of individuals, who are lured to places where they can be controlled. Victims are promised a better life and good jobs, but are often forced into dangerous, illegal or abusive work. Human trafficking is a rapidly expanding global phenomenon. It is said to have many faces, including domestic servitude, forced labour and sexual slavery.

Government has, therefore, intensified its efforts to eradicate any semblance of human trafficking, and has implemented a number of measures, including the enactment of the Transnational Organised Crime (Prevention and Control) Act, 2011-13, which was proclaimed on January 16, 2012.??


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