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Government hosts anti-human trafficking workshop

Government hosts anti-human trafficking workshop

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This country’s government continues to take steps to deal with the issue of human trafficking.{{more}}

A three-day training workshop on the issue got underway yesterday, Monday, January 23, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Room.

The Technical Skills Training on Human Trafficking workshop brought together key stakeholders representing various state organizations, including members of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Gender Affairs Division, to continue the information process in effecting change on issues relating to human trafficking.

Facilitator of the three-day workshop Chissey Mueller, Project Manager, International Organization of Migration (IOM), on her second visit to the country, told SEARCHLIGHT that participants will get the basic concepts of human trafficking and a glimpse of what neighbouring Caribbean territories have been doing.

This is a follow-up visit from 2008, when Mueller said she conducted the first training session.

According to Mueller, the difference between now and then is that this country now has tangible measures in place, including the enactment of anti-human trafficking laws and other measures, as the government seeks to remove the country from a tier 2 watch list of nations listed by the United States State Department.

“When compared to some of the other islands, St Vincent and the Grenadines has zoomed ahead quite quickly,” Mueller told SEARCHLIGHT.

“You were in the back of the pack, but now you are in the middle,” she continued.

Mueller further explained that by the end of the workshop, participants would be better able to use the referral process for victims of human trafficking and will know the best way to go ahead with operating procedures and conducting investigations.

“I am trying to bring a template so that the various stakeholders can work together towards a common goal, whether it’s for prevention, protection or prosecution,” Mueller explained.

Meanwhile Dr Douglas Slater, this country’s Foreign Minister, speaking at the opening ceremony, said that up to three to five years ago, the concept of human trafficking was a fairly new one.

He said that he was taken by surprise to hear that this country had been a major offender, in that there were no legislative mechanisms to effectively deal with the issue.

According to Slater, he wished that coming out of the workshop, serious steps would be made to get St Vincent off the watch list.(DD)

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