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Combating Human Trafficking in SVG – Part 3


Tue, Aug 21, 2012

What is Trafficking in Persons (TIP)?

The universal definition for trafficking in persons is “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion,{{more}} of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation.”

The above definition which is wide ranging and complex was established by the United Nations (UN) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. This Protocol was signed December 2000 in the city of Palermo, Italy, and is otherwise known as “the Palermo Protocol”. The “Palermo Protocol” is a supplemental Protocol to the United Nations (UN) Convention against Transnational Organized Crime to which St Vincent and the Grenadines is a signatory.

To simplify the definition, trafficking in persons is really a crime in which human traffickers profit from the exploitation of individuals (men, women, children), who are lured to places where they can be controlled. The victims are promised a better life and good jobs, but are forced into dangerous, barbaric, illegal and abusive situations and working conditions.

Human trafficking is a rapidly expanding global phenomenon. It is slavery in a modern form and a crime against humanity. Human trafficking is a criminal network and business which yields enormous profits. The crime is as profitable as trafficking in arms and ammunition and is the second most profitable criminal network to that of drug trafficking, with annual earnings of approximately US$32 billion (U.S. State Dept).

Global Data on Human Trafficking

  •  There are approximately 10-30 million slaves worldwide (Kevin Bales and ILO).

  • 600,000-800,000 persons are trafficked globally on an annual basis (2004, U.S. State Dept).

  • Over 1million plus children are trafficked globally on an annual basis ( UNICEF 2008).

The crime of human trafficking usually involves the following stages known by the acronym- A.M.E (Activity, Means, and Exploitation).

Elements of the Activity include: (a) Recruiting the victim (b) Transporting the victim (internally or externally) (c) Transferring the victim (d) Harbouring the victim and; (e) Receiving the victim (selling the victim to another person)

Elements of the Means include (a) Threats (b) Use of force (c) Coercion (d) Abduction (e) Fraud (f) Deception (g) Abuse of power (h) Abuse of a position of vulnerability.

After the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring and receipt of the victim through threats, use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deceit, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, the victim will be subjected to these types of exploitation:

Types of Exploitation include: (a) Forced labour or Service (b) Forced Prostitution (c) Domestic Servitude (d) Pornography (e) Sexual Exploitation (f) Slavery or services similar to slavery (g) Removal of organs (h) Street Begging (j)Forced Marriages (k) Child Soldiers.

The ultimate purpose of human trafficking is the exploitation of the human being or victim for financial or material benefit.

Possible Causes of Human Trafficking

The following are some of the “push and pull” factors, which can place an individual at great risk of becoming a victim of human trafficking: (1) the demand for cheap or inexpensive labour, services and products (2) poverty (3) lack of employment opportunities (4) lack of educational opportunities (5) social and political conflict (6) intolerance and discrimination.

Consequences of Human Trafficking

When a person is ‘trafficked’, the consequences for the victim can be very great and painful. Here are some of the effects of human trafficking: (1) repeated violation of the victim’s human rights (2) verbal, mental, physical and psychological abuse of the victim (3) serious trauma (4) stigmatization of the victim by the community and; (5) possible death.

Indicators of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is reportedly a “black market” crime; it is not easily identified or detected, due to the organized and crafty methods employed by human traffickers. However, there are some common indicators which can help to identify a victim of human trafficking. They are as follows; (1) person appears to have visible signs of physical injuries such as burns, lacerations, bruises or scars. (2) person does not manage their own money (3) person is not paid for their work or is paid very little (4) person is not in control of their documents such as passport, identification cards etc. (5) person lives with multiple persons in unsanitary conditions or lives with employer (6) person is rarely alone and appears to always have an escort with him/her (7) person exhibits submissive behaviour (8) heavy security at commercial establishments, such as brothels, entertainment spots, etc.

(to be continued in SEARCHLIGHT Weekend)

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU)
Police Headquarters
Questelles Police Station
Tel: 784-4571211
Email: [email protected]