Categorized | National News

Bahamas’ Human Trafficking Ranking Unchanged

The Bahamas hasn’t done much to identify victims of human trafficking or investigate and prosecute human traffickers, according to 2012 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, which was released yesterday by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Just last year The Bahamas’ human trafficking rating was downgraded after the country failed to meet benchmarks set by the US State Department.

The 2012 TIP report on The Bahamas covers activities undertaken by the Bahamas Government from April 2011 to March 2012.

While the report acknowledges the “significant efforts” that the Bahamas Government has made to address human trafficking, it notes that as of the end of March 2012, “these efforts had not yet resulted in the identification of any trafficking in persons victims and/or the investigation and prosecution of human traffickers.”

As a result, The Bahamas’ ranking in the report remains unchanged from last year.

Erica Thibault, the US Embassy in Nassau’s spokesperson said the embassy “recognises and applauds” the significant efforts made by the Bahamian government over the last nine months to build robust protocols and institutions that will contribute significantly to the early identification of trafficking victims and the effective investigation, prosecution and conviction of human traffickers.

“The embassy would particularly like to acknowledge and thank the government’s Inter-Ministry Committee on Trafficking in Persons, chaired by A. Missouri Sherman-Peters, for its exemplary leadership in tackling TIP issues and the Ministry of national security for its strong support of the TIP initiative.

“The 2012 TIP Report on The Bahamas commends the establishment of a high-level interagency TIP committee to coordinate counter TIP operations and notes that Bahamian authorities successfully conducted a large trafficking awareness workshop in March 2012 that included government and non-government stakeholders.”

The report also applauded the committee’s work in developing a national action plan, establishing a working level TIP task force, including law enforcement, social service medical professionals, NGOs and religious leaders to handle trafficking allegations, and developing a protocol to guide officials in the identification and appropriate handling of trafficking cases.

“The embassy is confident that the measures undertaken by the government in the early months of 2012, including the participation of 20 members of the Bahamian TIP task force in a trafficking workshop with Department of Justice Trafficking investigators and prosecutors held in Miami June 18-20, will bear fruit and will result in the identification of trafficking victims and the investigation and prosecution of traffickers,” Ms. Thibault said.

“The implementation of these counter-TIP measures and the expected investigation and prosecution of traffickers will pave the way for an improved ranking in next year’s report.”

Trafficking in persons and human trafficking have been used as umbrella terms to describe when someone obtains or holds a person in compelled service.

Rogan Smith

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