The number of “gentlemen’s clubs” sprouting across Barbados are fertile ground for human trafficking and there must be strict monitoring of these places of entertainment to prevent the practice, Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds has suggested.
Symmonds told the House of Assembly today that there was a connection between human trafficking and newspaper advertisements for the provision of escort services.
“You have contact numbers and oft times a brief description of the type of benefit that you might derive from the escort, above and beyond companionship.
“There is equally the presence of those things we now call gentleman’s clubs,” the Opposition Barbados Labour Party legislator said in his contribution to the debate on the Trafficking in Persons Prevention Bill, which was tabled by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and supported by the Opposition.
The Bill seeks to give effect to the United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol (UN TIP) “and for matters connected therewith”.
Symmonds said there was consensus that the men’s clubs provided a variety of services “which may not only be visual in nature”.
“The reality is that there is a pattern that evolved in Barbados that we cannot realistically turn a blind eye to, especially when what is happening is that there is the procurement of young males and females who are brought in from outside of Barbados.
“What we really need to know is that when [there are] these clubs in Barbados that are engaging in these types of activities, that the clubs are going to be policed,” he said.
“If we allow all these things to continue to flourish under our nose, then we are just turning an eye away from a problem that is going to cause this country an ongoing level of difficulty.”
Prior to Symmonds’ call Minister of Health John Boyce spoke of the risk of unchecked persons being trafficked into Barbados and presenting a health risk, especially the possible spread of HIV/AIDS.
“We need to maybe initiate new programmes to ensure that this spread does not occur,” Boyce suggested.
The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children is one of three adopted by the United Nations to supplement the 2000 Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.