Having met the basic international standards for the protocols relating to human trafficking, the National Task Force for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons will be pressing ahead this year to ensure this menace does not threaten Barbados’ good reputation.
That is the word from Programme Officer at the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Nalita Gajadhar, who said officials in the fight against human trafficking had achieved their objectives for 2012 and were currently refining this year’s work plan.
Ms. Gajadhar continued: "Our work plan last year was designed to fill gaps, so we did a lot of work on public education/awareness and training.?? We trained a number of frontline workers on how to detect human trafficking and some were exposed to???? building capacity as it relates to prosecution. The Task Force also looked at the Human
Trafficking Protocol and the members developed a set of guidelines which the main agencies must follow."
The Bureau of Gender Affairs acts as the Secretariat to the Task Force, which was established last April, and is chaired by Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite.
Ms. Gajadhar noted that there was "a level of energy" in the Task Force and the members had completed a lot of work. "The members are eager to be a part of something that is new and that has an impact on Barbados’ ability to perform and do the things that are just; so we can continue respecting people’s human rights.
"We have a moral responsibility to ensure slavery does not happen again, even if it is for sex or other horrible purposes such as harvesting of organs from bodies," she stated.
Human trafficking is a crime in which traffickers profit from the exploitation of individuals lured to places where they can be controlled. Victims are promised a better life and good jobs, but then forced into dangerous, illegal or abusive work. Human trafficking is a rapidly expanding global phenomenon and is said to have many faces, including domestic servitude, forced labour and sexual slavery.
Mrs. Gajadhar gave the assurance that the Bureau would continue working with the International Organization for Migration to ensure additional training opportunities were created. She disclosed that 60 people would be exposed to human trafficking training during the year, with half that number being groomed to be trainers.
However, she called on the media in Barbados to understand their role in this fight. "Yes, they will find areas that might seem suspicious and yes, they do not want to damage their own relationship with their community in terms of being able to gather information. But, there still must be some national responsibility in terms of helping the Task Force and agencies do their job…
"They can engage the Task Force, Bureau and NGOs and develop that kind of relationship with us to assist in preventing or solving human trafficking issues, as opposed to just throwing a story out there, because if they do, we would not know who to call and ask for this information," she argued.
??She added that the Task Force would seek a meeting with media managers shortly to discuss the issue with them so they too could be brought into the loop.
The Task Force is made up of representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, and Family, Culture, Sports and Youth; as well as officials from the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Immigration Department, the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados and the Barbados Red Cross.
Its mandate includes coordinating Barbados’ anti-trafficking activities and developing and overseeing the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons.