Trafficking in persons – a heinous crime: BarbadosListen /
Given its transnational nature, combating the scourge of human trafficking required utmost international cooperation and coordination, several speakers said in the General Assembly during its high-level meeting on the appraisal of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Delegates said that strengthening national legal and institutional frameworks called for the universal ratification and implementation of international instruments, including the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols. It was also critical to strengthen coordination among origin and destination countries.
Barbados Deputy Permanent Representative Joyce Bourne said trafficking in persons is a heinous crime which requires a forceful response at national, regional and international levels.
She called human trafficking a vicious cycle that affected women disproportionately.
“It thrives in conditions of poverty, where respect for the rule of law and human rights is at its weakest. It is also recognised that because we live in an inter-connected world, no country or region is immune from Trafficking in Persons. It is a global phenomenon which requires global collaboration if the cycle is to be broken. The goal of the UN Global plan of Action is to do just that, to break the cycle and eradicate the scourge of Trafficking in Persons, focussing on four pillars – prevention, protection of victims, prosecution of perpetrators and forging partnerships.”
Ms. Bourne says that for its part, Barbados has implemented a number of measures at the national level to enable it to meet its obligations at the international level.
“In 2011, Barbados passed legislation providing for the prosecution of suspected offenders, thus making Trafficking in Persons a criminal offence, in line with the Protocol. In February 2012, Barbados established a National Task Force for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons. This entity, chaired by the Attorney-General, comprises representatives from the Ministries and agencies with responsibility for public prosecutions, gender affairs, immigration, law enforcement, labour and social security, as well as civil society organisations. Barbados has established a dedicated Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Unit within the police force to investigate all suspected cases of trafficking. Immigration officials, officers of the police force and the coast guard, and representatives of other relevant stakeholders, have benefited from specialised training through technical cooperation programmes funded by regional and bilateral partners.”
Deputy Permanent Representative Ms. Joyce Bourne says there are on-going public awareness programmes on human trafficking to assist in the recognition of instances of trafficking, and to educate the general public and potential victims and their families.
She says Barbados is encouraged that its efforts have started to show results. However, challenges remain. She emphasised the critical importance of technical cooperation and international assistance in building and strengthening the national capacity to respond to human trafficking, adding that this is especially the case in small, vulnerable developing countries such as Barbados and the countries of the Caribbean.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.