A study of human trafficking is to be undertaken by the National Crime Observatory.
According to Director of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention (NTFCP), Cheryl Willoughby, the study will determine the nature of human trafficking in Barbados; who is being exploited; where they are coming from; when cases have occurred; who are the perpetrators; and what needs to be done from a scientific perspective to address this problem.
She made these comments during the unveiling of a human trafficking poster at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) yesterday, as part of the ongoing efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking.
Mrs. Willoughby explained that the NTFCP had responsibility for collecting and analysing crime statistics from all criminal justice agencies in Barbados.
But, she noted, the National Crime Observatory, established in 2012, with assistance from the Canadian High Commission and the Organisation of American States, was unable to collect information or statistics on human trafficking.
???It is a clandestine crime and so it is difficult for persons to be identified. If we are to analyse human trafficking, we must all agree that it is a crime against humanity.
“We are actually sexually exploiting persons for our own personal gain. This is not only limited to children but includes women and men as well,??? she said, adding that it also involved persons exploited for labour and body organs.
The Director also stressed that there was a need to build greater awareness about human trafficking, not only in Barbados, but in the region.
However, she noted that Barbados had already put measures in place to address human trafficking, such as the passage of legislation in 2011, and the establishment of the National Task Force on Human Trafficking in 2012 under the chairmanship of the Attorney General.
Mrs. Willoughby explained that since the creation of that Task Force, considerable work was done to sensitise Barbados about what she termed a ???horrific crime???.
Chairman of Crime Stoppers Barbados, Julie Dash, said it was important that airline personnel, crew, and ground staff knew the signs of human trafficking, and had an avenue through which it could be reported.
She stated that Crime Stoppers would provide that avenue, allowing reports to be made anonymously and confidentially to attack human trafficking, which nets criminals US$150 billion a year.
Chief Executive Officer of the GAIA, David Barrow, agreed that the issue of human trafficking was a global problem, and that airports must become a major part of the effort in combating that scourge.