Message by Attorney-General, Minister of Legal Affairs and Chairman of the National Task Force on the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons, Hon. Dale D. Marshall, Q.C., M.P., on the occasion of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons – July 30, 2020.
Today, Barbados joins with the Global Community to observe World Day against Trafficking in Persons. This year, the United Nations has chosen to highlight the work and dedication of those of the frontline of battling this heinous crime, with the theme of “Committed to the Cause – Working on the Frontline to end Human Trafficking”.
Trafficking in Persons is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sexual exploitation. Many victims are held in inhumane conditions and are forced to live in a constant state of fear.
It is a complex crime, which is largely invisible, making it more difficult for those tasked with the responsibility of detecting, investigating and ultimately prosecuting the perpetrators of this illegal activity.
Evidence over the years does not suggest that Human Trafficking is a major problem in Barbados. While no doubt, there have been a few incidents, thankfully they have been few and far between.
Although not a major feature on the criminal landscape, the Government of Barbados has ensured that the necessary institutional and legislative arrangements are in place to deal with human trafficking effectively and forcefully.
In 2012, the Cabinet of Barbados approved the establishment of a National Task Force against Trafficking in Persons, chaired by the Attorney General.
The Task Force contemplated representation from both Governmental and non-Governmental bodies. It has recently been reconstituted at the end of 2019 and the members can expect a busy year.
The enactment of The Trafficking in Persons Prevention Act, in 2016 provided the framework for a concerted effort by Government to ensure that this area is appropriately addressed.
The Government is committed to the protection of victims as a victim-centred approach underpins its efforts.
As with all other areas of criminal endeavour, every Barbadian must play their part, if we are to be successful in stamping it out.
Members of the public are urged to contact the relevant authorities if you have any information which can save a victim or put a trafficker behind bars. I urge you, if you See Something, Say Something.
I salute the many persons working on the frontline in Barbados – the staff of the many agencies engaged in the fight against Human Trafficking – the Royal Barbados Police Force, Immigration Department, Social Sector Departments and Non-Governmental Organisations.
On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us recommit to taking all actions necessary to end the cruel exploitation of people for profit and to build a more just and caring society.