The Barbados Government intends to continue the fight against human trafficking.
So said Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, who was this morning addressing representatives of gender rights organisations at a roundtable discussion on Human Trafficking at the Hilton Barbados.
Brathwaite, who is chairperson of the committee on Human Trafficking, told the small audience that Government believed the fight to combat the problem was very important and the two main areas they wanted to address was the aspect of training and the issue of prosecution.
He said the whole notion that Barbados was not doing all it could, in terms of identifying cases and prosecuting individuals was untrue and said that the legislation enacted in 2010 was a start in the right direction.
He told Barbados TODAY the reason for the establishment of the committee last year was to further this initiative and his position at the helm was a way to ensure the momentum continued.
“Even though we may believe that Barbados is a paradise, we still have to be vigilant to protect our people. The fact is I could have given this position to anyone but me here is signalling that this is important to me, to Cabinet, to the Government that it is important that we ensure we can do whatever we can to assist if there is a victim on our shores.
“That is why I say we have to address the whole issue of prosecution because it makes no sense arresting someone … then two months down the road we don’t have the evidence and have to let them go. The whole issue of prosecution is like having sex with minors; we speak about it, we say that it is wrong we have to do something about it, but I cannot remember the last time that I saw anyone going before our court for having sex.
“I think we have to do some work on a national level in terms of bringing the whole issue into the consciousness of our people. When you speak to people about human trafficking people think in terms of prostitution so it is not a big thing in their consciousness because prostitution is one of these things that have always been there. You see ladies at the Garrison Savannah and wherever else but if you think of trafficking as a crime against the person then I think it will awake … consciousness in our people and they will then see a difference.
“So I do believe we†have to do a bit more work in this regard. We need to ensure that by the time we leave here today that we can have a clearer road map in terms of what we would do in 2013, 2014,” he said.
As well as discussing the progress the committee has made in the year of existence, today was also a training session led by representative from the International Organisation for Migration, Chrissy Mueller. (KC)