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Slater: I intend to make an issue of paedophilia


Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Douglas Slater has pledged to do all in his power to ensure that this country fully complies with the United States’ regulations to combat human trafficking.{{more}}

This after St Vincent and the Grenadines was ajudged by the US Department of State as not being satisfactorily compliant with its human trafficking Act and recently placed on the Tier 2 Watch List.

Under the Tier 2 Watch List, affected countries are deemed as those whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

Slater, in his contribution to the 2011 budget debate Wednesday, January 26, said that the situation was very serious because this year was the second year that the country was being categorized as such and that when the time came for further assessment, which was some time soon, the country could slip to the third Tier or improve on the current situation.

“It is being suggested that there may be incidents of child labour, also of persons being brought (here) and used as prostitutes, and also that the country may be used as a transit point,” Slater explained.

While officials at the State Department have not been clear on the reasons why they placed the country on a watch list, the newly appointed Foreign Minister said the authorities here needed to be aware of the practices or behaviours that may lead individuals into potentially becoming involved in human trafficking.

One such behaviour identified by the State Department according to Slater was paedophilia.

Paedophilia is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as sexual desire directed towards children.

Slater said that the people needed to know about the issue of paedophilia.

“On the 26th of November, I tried to define that term and as a result attempts were made to charge me criminally,” Slater said, adding that the State Department was now raising the same issue.

“And if I am committed to go to jail for raising the issue, then I will be a proud jail bird!”

“I am not a criminal. What I have tried to do, what I am doing now and will continue to do in the interest of the human rights of the young people of this country, especially our under aged girls and to raise the issue of paedophilia,” Slater continued.

He also noted that the State Department has outlined measures, including the adoption of a work plan, to facilitate the promotion from Tier 2.

On the issue of paedophilia, Slater said that he intends to make the issue a public one.

He chided those whom he said claimed to be beacons of human rights but had other motives. He said he intends to continue to work in the interest of persons by addressing the issue of paedophilia.

“I want for all to wake up and smell the coffee, and I want people to feel comfortable that the young girls and boys can trust us,” he said. (DD)