A group of women made their way into the hustle and bustle of Bridgetown this morning to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking in Barbados.
Members of the Soroptimist International of Barbados, Soroptimist International of Jamestown, and the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados (BPWC), participated in a human trafficking awareness march in Bridgetown.
President of Soroptimist International of Barbados Ramona Smart, who participated in the event, informed members of the media that the march coincided with World Anti-Human Trafficking Day, which was observed on Friday.
Smart said the march, which started at Queen’s Park just after 8 a.m. and ended on Broad Street, was a significant and necessary undertaking because there are many persons who are not aware that human trafficking is happening in Barbados, and believe it is something that only happens in foreign territories.
She said: “But it happens right here at our doorsteps so the whole purpose of the walk is to raise that awareness of what happens in Barbados with human trafficking. I don’t have any current statistics because it is an underground business, it is not widely known, it is very secretive as you know it is, but the perpetrators know who they are.
“We just want to raise awareness and let people know that they can contact the police if they suspect someone is being trafficked and they can also call the BPW hotline. We have our flyers that we are distributing this morning that demonstrates the various ways that they can contact persons to get help. Any victim can get help”.
Smart indicated that during the Soroptimist July meeting, a human trafficking survivor shared her story of what she would have gone through while being trafficked, and about how she managed to escape.
The President said the objective of the young woman sharing her story, and today’s march, is to allow persons to become conscious of the methods they can use to get out of human trafficking.
“Particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a serious situation where persons who were trafficked to Barbados were actually abandoned here because they could not get back home and there were no resources here for them in Barbados. So, the social services, the civic society organizations had to step in to assist those persons in terms of getting them their day-to-day needs, meals and so on”. (AH)