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19-year-old becomes victim of Human Trafficking after Facebook post

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“Suzie,” a 19 year old female from a CARICOM country, commented on her Facebook page “Another day and nothing to do, I want a job”. Soon thereafter, a response was posted on her page, offering her a job as a bartender/entertainer at an all-inclusive hotel in another CARICOM country. After some exchanges with her potential employer, she was informed that she would be the person who would be responsible to encourage the guests to dance, organize competitions, host sing-offs, etc. She was also promised a very good salary if she took up the job.

She took up the job offer and the employer paid for her airfare from her home country to the destination country. “Suzie” was promised that she would get a work permit upon arrival. However, to “Suzie’s” surprise, upon her arrival, her passport was taken away and instead of working at the all-inclusive hotel, she was taken to a club in town, told to serve drinks and kept locked away in a dirty room with several other girls, with only two mattresses on the floor. After one week, she was given a bikini and told to dance and have sex with men for money. “Suzie” refused to do what she was told and was beaten and threatened with further violence.

The days after finishing school can be very frustrating for some young people whose families are facing financial difficulties and there is a great need to assist, but limited opportunities to do so.

Every 30 seconds around the world, another person becomes a victim to human trafficking. What is human trafficking one may ask? Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power, or a position of vulnerability or of giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of “exploitation”.

In a simplified version – human trafficking is the trade in human beings. It is a crime in which the traffickers profit from the exploitation of individuals, who are lured to places where they can be controlled. Victims are promised a better life and good jobs, but are often forced into dangerous, barbaric, illegal or abusive situations and terrible working conditions. Human trafficking is a rapidly expanding global phenomenon. It is said to have many faces, including domestic servitude, forced labour and sexual slavery. Human trafficking affects men, women and children.

According to historical data:

* Over 1 million children are trafficked annually (UNICEF)

* Trafficking in Persons is the 2nd most lucrative criminal network; 2nd only to Drug Trafficking.

* Forced Labour is the largest type of trafficking (21 million persons are victims – over $150 billion in profit yearly – ILO)

* Sex trafficking is the most profitable.

As young adults who have now completed your education and looking for gainful employment, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU) is appealing to you be very careful about what you post on social medial and the kinds of jobs you accept; please be aware that not all jobs that are advertised are real. Some job opportunities may seem like a dream come true, but before taking up that job, pause and ask yourself. “Why don’t I conduct some research into this company first?”

Always remember the truism which says “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

For those of you who are migrating to other countries, don’t just rush into the first job opportunity that presents itself and be very careful with the friends you make and keep.

Report all possible cases of human trafficking to the Anti-Trafficking in persons Unit (ATIPU); we are located at the Questelles Police Station.

(Submitted by: The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU), Questelles Police Station; tel: 456-1750/4571211; email: svgantitraffickingunit@gmail.com; Facebook: Anti-Trafficking in persons Unit, RSVGPF)

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