Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage in the House of Assembly on Wednesday announced that The Bahamas is officially the first and only country in the region to obtain a tier one ranking in the 2015 U.S. annual trafficking in persons report.
According to Dr. Nottage, the U.S. Department of State released the report on Monday which revealed that The Bahamas is the only one among over a dozen other countries in the Caribbean region that complies with the standards put in place for the elimination of trafficking in persons in accordance to the Trafficking Victim’s Protections Act (TVPA).
“Indeed, it is the only country in the region that has achieved a tier-one ranking,” he said.
“The goal of the U.S. Trafficking Persons Report is to stimulate action that creates partnerships around the word in the fight against trafficking in persons which is also referred to as modern day slavery. Countries throughout the world are affected by the trafficking of persons as either a source, transit or destination country. The U.S. government, who is committed to combating trafficking in persons or human trafficking, follows their trafficking in the TVPA and the standards set forth by the United Nations protocol to prevent, suppress and punish those responsible for trafficking in persons especially, women and children.”
The national security minister said this ranking is a clear indication that his ministry has been diligently working to see that The Bahamas is doing its best to minimize and eventually eradicate human trafficking of all kinds.
“The Bahamas is a symbol for the United Nations Trafficking of persons protocol,” he said.
“The Bahamas also adopts the universal definition of trafficking in persons set forth in the protocol which defines trafficking in persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other forms of abduction, fraud, deception or abuse of power for the purpose of exploitation.”
Dr. Nottage assured that the Ministry of National Security will be working actively around the clock to obtain its position on the report with the help of the Ministry of Immigration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Bahamas Police Force,
Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Bahamas Crisis Centre and other forces and establishments.
In The Bahamas, the most common acts of human trafficking are sexual and labour trafficking.
The decrease in human trafficking cases has proven to be evident over the last four years.
According to previous reports, in 2011 and 2012, the country was listed as a tier two watch list country and in 2013 and 2014 it progressed to a tier two ranking.
Finally in 2015, as a result of the dedication and hard work of officials at the ministry of national security, historically, the country has finally been privileged to receive the title of a tier one country.