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Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Attorney General, Yvette Goddard, has stated that the reconstituted National Task Force for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons is keen to work with partners in the fight.

Ms. Goddard emphasised this point today during the opening ceremony for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative two-day virtual workshop on Preventing Trafficking in Persons for Judges and Court Prosecutors.

She told participants that the task force, chaired by Attorney General Dale Marshall, was reconstituted in December 2019, and added: “The Attorney General has previously stated Barbados’ commitment to playing its part in wiping out the scourge of this heinous crime and its readiness to work with all and any partners to make this a reality.”

The Permanent Secretary updated participants about Barbados’ activities during the pandemic to combat and detect cases of human trafficking.  She shared that among the efforts is the creation of a National Action Plan, which will be going to Cabinet shortly.

She further stated that two key components of the plan were training and partnership, and disclosed that the United States Government’s efforts, through partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the American Bar Association to organise training for judges, court prosecutors and magistrates, were welcomed.

“We wish to thank the US Government for the funding and making all of the arrangements for training. I also want to thank members from our own office…because they have been engaging in the discussions to formalise and constitute this training.”

The International Labour Office estimates that globally, there are more than 25 million people who are victims of trafficking.

Meanwhile, USAID’s Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission Regional Representative, Clinton White, said his organisation was pleased to collaborate with the Government, and more specifically the Office of the Attorney General, to strengthen this country’s counter-trafficking efforts.

He argued that there were too many examples and evidence of trafficking in persons around the world.  In fact, he said the International Labour Office estimates that globally, there are more than 25 million people who are victims of trafficking.

Given this scenario, Mr. White said USAID was committed to supporting partner countries in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean to enhance state capacity and strengthen community responses.

“Today’s session is one example of such efforts.  This session builds on two days of training that was held last week on March 16 and 17 for Customs and Immigration Officials.  We hope that the training delivered last week would improve the interviewing, investigating and screening capabilities of border control officers.

In today’s training, we hope to sharpen your toolkit with international instruments, information and good practices and standards that will improve state prosecution and conviction of perpetrators of this crime,” Mr. White underlined. The training sessions will conclude tomorrow, Wednesday, March 24.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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