Minister of Social Transformation, Trevor Prescod (centre), in conversation with Selma Thompson (left) and Celia Pollard-Jones (right) of the Ministry of Tourism

Government is on a mission to find out to what degree human trafficking occurs here.

Word of this has come from the Minister of Social Transformation Trevor Prescod, who told a group gathered for a one-day consultation on the subject today, that the issue of human trafficking had the potential to create significant problems in the society if it surfaced in a considerable way.

“Our first task therefore is to determine to what extent human trafficking exists in Barbados. We therefore need to devise a system to find out if it occurs and who are the principal groups that are likely to be affected and the principal culprits in the society who encourage it. Another task is to determine what specific roles the various private and public organisations can play if and when a situation of human trafficking emerges,” Mr. Prescod stated.

Trafficking in persons involves the recruitment, movement, or harbouring of a person by means of deception, coercion, and or force, in order to exploit that person through sexual exploitation, forced labour, servitude, slavery or slavery-like conditions. The incidence of human trafficking has been categorised as the third largest organised criminal activity behind the illegal arms trade and the smuggling of narcotics.

It is said to gross over US$80 billion and is considered one of the most dehumanising crimes faced by the world today.

Mr. Prescod said that even though the problem of human trafficking was not given prominence in the Caribbean, it existed overtly or covertly in various forms and degrees. “Some of these countries have actually adopted legislation to deal with the issue and others are in the process of determining to what extent their response should be. In order to gauge a response for Barbados, one has to understand the underlying factors that influence human trafficking,” he said.

He pointed out that his Ministry had made a commitment to increase awareness of human trafficking and to advocate for the adoption of systems to combat it. He stressed that the consultation and other activities the Bureau of Gender Affairs participated in should provide them with the information to deal affirmatively with human trafficking in terms of sharing the resources and collaborating with external nations to address all its various facets.   

The meeting was held at the Wildey Conference Centre and the participants were also given an overview of the Caribbean counter trafficking initiative and the challenges in prosecuting human traffickers.

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