Barbados should soon have a Protocol on Human Trafficking.

To this end, a one-day workshop will be held here next Wednesday, April 22, to finalise the draft protocol for the treatment of victims of human trafficking. The meeting comes off in Lecture Theatre 1, 1st Floor of the Warrens Office Complex, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Fifty participants drawn from several government agencies and non-governmental organisations will discuss the amended protocol and issues arising from it, and look at challenges likely to be faced in fulfilling the obligations under the code. A similar meeting was also held last June, which moved the island a step closer to concluding the protocol.

Barbados is one of 117 countries that signed the protocol on September 25, 2001, to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime. The protocol came into effect on December 25, 2003.

There is no agreed action to identify and assist victims of human trafficking here, and the protocol is expected to protect and support the human rights of persons, while promoting cooperation among all stakeholders in order to meet these objectives.

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, movement or harbouring of a person by means of deception, coercion and or force in order to disadvantage that individual through sexual exploitation, forced labour, servitude, slavery and or slavery-like conditions. It is a rapidly expanding global scourge and a growing problem in the Caribbean. Human trafficking is said to be the third most profitable illegal industry next to the arms and narcotics trades.

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