Today, 6/19/2009, in the Nation, Tony Best wrote an article, Magnet for human traffickers.

He cited this source, Trafficking in Persons Report 2009

Barbados appears on this page, Country Narratives — Countries A Through C

Here is the entire quote on Barbados (with my emphasis):

BARBADOS (Tier 2)

Barbados is a destination country for women from the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Jamaica trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation; it is also a destination for men from China, India, and Guyana trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation in construction and other sectors. Reports from 2005 indicated that girls and women within Barbados and from other Caribbean countries were trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude. Sex traffickers, primarily pimps and brothel owners from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, lure women through newspaper ads for legitimate work in Barbados. Trafficked women tend to enter the country through legal means, usually by air; traffickers later force victims to work in strip clubs, massage parlors, some private residences, and “entertainment clubs” that operate as brothels. Traffickers use threats of physical harm or deportation, debt bondage, false contracts, psychological abuse, and confinement to force men, women, and reportedly some girls to also work in construction, the garment industry, agriculture, or private households.

The Government of Barbados does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government drafted a protocol for anti-trafficking actions, increased public awareness of trafficking, and cooperated with other Caribbean governments on trafficking issues. The government, however, did not report any investigations of suspected cases of sex or labor trafficking , nor did it prosecute any trafficking cases during the year.

Recommendations for Barbados: Develop, enact, and implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking law; proactively investigate suspected human trafficking cases; prosecute and punish trafficking offenders, including those who subject workers to conditions of forced labor; implement procedures for law enforcement officers to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations; develop a national plan to identify, combat, and prevent trafficking; create and implement a national trafficking public awareness and prevention program.

Prosecution
The Barbados government made weak efforts to prosecute trafficking offenders during the year, while facing resource constraints and competing law enforcement priorities. Barbados has no specific law prohibiting human trafficking, but slavery and forced labor are constitutionally prohibited. Existing statutes against sexual offenses and forced labor could be used to prosecute some trafficking crimes. Penalties for these offenses, which range from five to15 years’ imprisonment, are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. No trafficking offenders were prosecuted during the year. Most law enforcement and immigration officials do not have the appropriate training, funding, and other necessary mechanisms to monitor and investigate suspected cases of trafficking.

Protection
The Government of Barbados made moderate efforts to ensure victims’ access to protective services over the last year. It funded several existing programs to assist victims of other crimes which could be used to support trafficking victims, such as shelters run by a local NGO and the Salvation Army, and public counseling services for victims of rape and child abuse. The government expressed its readiness to refer victims of trafficking, once identified, to the Bureau of Gender Affairs for support services, although no victims were formally identified during the year. The government’s Bureau of Gender Affairs collaborated with a local NGO to sensitize government agencies on the difference between smuggling and trafficking, the importance of referring victims to services provided in collaboration with NGOs, and the importance of implementing a trafficking-specific protocol and legislation to better target their efforts. Victims of trafficking (like victims of other crimes) are not, in general, encouraged to participate in investigations or prosecutions of trafficking offenders. Trafficking victims could be prosecuted for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked, as no existing legislation offers legal protection specifically to victims of trafficking. Police claim to have no option under current, relevant laws but to treat foreign trafficking victims without valid legal documentation as criminals and summarily deport them. UNHCR provided suspected trafficking victims with medical assistance and help with repatriation. There have been no reported cases of Barbadians trafficked to foreign countries, although the Bureau of Gender Affairs has specialized services in place should such a case arise.

Prevention
The government made moderate efforts to raise the public’s awareness of the risks and dangers of human trafficking in Barbados. During the year the government hosted educational workshops and ran press releases on human trafficking. Although there is no formal mechanism for coordinating government and NGO action on trafficking issues, the Bureau of Gender Affairs worked with regional and local NGOs, religious organizations, and community advocates to better organize their anti-trafficking efforts and outreach. The Bureau of Gender Affairs also disseminated the government’s draft protocol for anti-trafficking action to various official agencies. Expansion of the tourism industry is fueling an increased demand for commercial sex in Barbados, but the government made no noticeable efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. Barbados has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

My Summary

The Human Trafficking Trade thrives in Barbados, with little Government interference. The US Government seems to be seething over the inaction of the Bajan Government.


Related: Guyana, St Vincent object to human trafficking report (Has Barbados complained? St. Vincent and Guyana are in the same category, Tier 2, as Bim.)

ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES (Tier 2 Watch List)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a potential source country for children trafficked internally for the purposes of sexual exploitation; it may also be a destination country for women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. Anecdotal reporting suggests the number of victims trafficked in, to, or through St. Vincent and the Grenadines is comparatively small. Information on the full extent of human trafficking in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, however, is lacking, as neither the government nor NGOs have conducted any related investigations, studies, or surveys. Reports indicate that a traditional practice of sending children away from home to live with another family is sometimes misused for the purpose of coercing children into commercial sexual exploitation. In these situations, care-givers force fostered children into sexual relationships in exchange for financial and in-kind compensation.

GUYANA (Tier 2 Watch List)

Guyana is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Guyanese trafficking victims have been identified within the country, as well as in Barbados, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname. The majority of victims are trafficked internally for sexual and labor exploitation in the more heavily populated coastal areas and in the remote areas of the country’s interior. Women and girls are lured with offers of well-paying jobs, and are subsequently exploited and controlled through threats, withholding of pay or insufficient pay, and physical violence. In coastal areas, traffickers promise rural women and girls jobs as domestic servants, then coerce them into working in shops or homes for little or no pay, or sell them to brothels. Many trafficking victims along the coast are Amerindian teenagers, targeted by traffickers because of poor education and job prospects in their home regions. Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese girls, however, have also been trafficked for commercial sex and labor. Guyanese men are trafficked transnationally for forced labor in construction and other sectors in Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.