This country is moving a step closer to finalising its protocol for the identification and protection of victims of human trafficking.

To this end, the Bureau of Gender Affairs will be hosting a meeting for 50 stakeholders next Monday, June 2, when they will examine the draft protocol with the hope of completing it. In addition, the participants will hear from the Director of the International Legal Resource Centre of the American Bar Association, Andreea Vesa, who will speak on “The Use and Development of Laws to Fight the Phenomenon of Human Trafficking”.

In September, 2001, Barbados joined the list of 117 countries which signed a protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children. 

Since then, there have been concerted efforts to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking and develop mechanisms to combat it. There is no agreed action to identify and assist victims of human trafficking here, and the protocol is designed to protect and support the human rights of these 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 phenomenon 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, totalling some US $8 billion yearly. 

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