Posted on

Human trafficking in the Caribbean

Human trafficking in the Caribbean


The geographical location of the Caribbean along with the ‘porous’ borders of the region are two of the factors that increase the region’s susceptibility to human trafficking.{{more}}

That’s the view of Fernando Garcia- Robles, Coordinator of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit of the Organization of American States Department of Public Security.

Garcia-Robles was speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day seminar aimed at strengthening the capacity of law enforcement officials, judges and prosecutors in the Caribbean, to identify and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

The seminar, which was held at the Grenadine House at Kingstown Park, saw members of the police high command, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Financial Intelligence Unit all present at the function hosted by the Organization of American States (OAS).

According to Garcia-Robles, the region’s location between North and South America affects its likelihood of being affected by Human Trafficking.

He also said that the freedom of movement that Caribbean nationals enjoy as a part of the Caribbean Community could result in an increase in human trafficking.

Considered a modern form of slavery, human trafficking was identified as the movement of persons from one area to another for forced sexual exploitation, exploitation of labour, sex tourism, forced domestic services and illegal adoptions, among others.

The coordinator noted that recent reports state that a number of Caribbean countries favoured as tourist destinations are the centre of a growing sex tourism industry.

“Studies in the region have revealed that every year, men, but particularly women and girls, are recruited, transported, marketed and purchased by individual buyers, traffickers and members of trans-national organized crime syndicates who operate within Caribbean countries, with the main purpose of sexually exploiting them.”

“In a 2005 study conducted by the OAS and the International Organization for Migration, it was revealed that trans border human trafficking exists in many of the Caribbean states and that many other countries interconnected with the Caribbean are also affected as source, transit or destination countries.

“Although mainly a source region, the Caribbean is also becoming a transit point for trafficked women en route to Europe, Asia and/or more developed countries in the western hemisphere.”

Garcia-Robles highlighted the various ways that human trafficking can take place and its perpetrators.

These include a person being abducted from their country of origin, or being promised better paying jobs in different regions or overseas.

“In order to combat this crime, it is necessary to go beyond the countries of origin, transit and destination, Garcia-Robles said.

“It is vital to address more than just the recruiters, transporters etc… it is a job which requires conjunction and coordination at the institutional and multidimensional levels, taking into account the prevention, the prosecution of criminals and the protection of victims.”

It is estimated that up to 4 million persons around the world are victims of human trafficking annually.(JJ)