Government is currently preparing legislation to address the issue of human trafficking.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said the new laws would complement the protocol for the treatment of victims of human trafficking. She made the remarks today at the Warrens Office Complex, during a workshop to finalise the protocol.

Dr. Byer Suckoo told the gathering: “The gravity and inhumane nature of this practice demands that there must be more concerted efforts on the part of government and other stakeholders if we are to remain a step ahead of those unscrupulous persons who would want to resuscitate or refashion the pre-20th century indignity of slavery.”

She stressed that Government was committed to the production of a comprehensive document which could prevent human trafficking, help the victims and stand up to the scrutiny of international observers.

“The Barbados Protocol for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking seeks to ensure that appropriate assistance is provided through protective shelters that have suitable funding and comprehensive support services; that victims of human trafficking are recognised and treated as such; that services are provided to facilitate social reintegration and, or safe repatriation; and that the isolation of victims is prevented,” she said.

“All of this calls for the close collaboration and coordination between public sector agencies and civil society. The protocol recognises this and seeks to incorporate these groups by outlining their respective responsibilities,” the Minister stated.

She promised that Barbados would cooperate with countries and enter arrangements to protect the welfare of victims, punish traffickers and preserve its reputation as a promoter of the sanctity of human rights. “We condemn the practice of human trafficking and, should that beast ever rear its ugly head here, we are getting ready, sharpening our tools to cut that head off with a powerful strike,” she said.

Dr. Byer Suckoo opined that because this island was one of the more economically stable and prosperous ones in the Caribbean, prospective human traffickers would see it as attractive.

Reports of the International Organisation of Migration and the US State Department have categorised Barbados as a destination for the trafficking of victims.

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