By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — A review of the Trafficking in Persons Prevention Act will be undertaken this year. Attorney-General Dale Marshall made this disclosure today during the hybrid launch of a Human Trafficking Sensitisation Campaign, at the Joint Regional Communications Centre’s Conference Room, Wildey Business Park, St Michael.
During his address, Marshall told his audience that government was committed to supporting the work of the National Task Force Against Trafficking In Persons, as he reminded that an action plan had been developed and approved by Cabinet last year.
“While the Task Force has been working diligently on its (action plan) implementation, this year, we propose to undertake a review of our Trafficking in Persons Prevention Act, with a view to strengthening some of its provisions.
“We hope to start working on that next month, with the intention of having amendments before parliament by summer. We also plan to review our National Referral System with the intention of streamlining and strengthening operations,” he said.
Underscoring the importance of the Education and Sensitisation Campaign, the attorney-general said it would provide the public with the needed tools to ensure every Barbadian understands that trafficking in persons “is a most serious crime with heavy penalties”.
“They will know also that anyone, irrespective of class, race or creed, can fall prey to the perpetrators of this dehumanising crime. I must sound a note of caution though, Barbadians need to be vigilant as the harsh economic conditions occasioned by the global COVID-19 pandemic, soon to be exacerbated by an unfortunate war in Ukraine, create the ideal conditions for trafficking in persons to thrive.
“Poverty, war and the concomitant dislocation of large numbers of people, which we are seeing now, present many opportunities for the unscrupulous criminals who are either operating independently or as part of organised cartels. Either way, we must be on our guard. In today’s interconnected world, the Caribbean and Barbados are not far away from such trouble spots,” Marshall said.
He disclosed that entertainer Edwin Yearwood would be collaborating with the Prevention Sub-committee of the Task Force on further public education and sensitisation outreach activities, including going into schools.
The attorney-general noted that successive governments had maintained that Barbados did not have a major problem with human trafficking.
During the ceremony, an audio testimony from a human trafficking victim was shared, and he stated that her story was proof that the scourge had hit these shores.
A jingle, which was written by Edwin and sung by Edwin, Nakita and TC, was launched, as well as a logo, which was designed by Terrence Holder. The jingle and logo were funded by USAID, through the UNDP CARISecure Project.