Caribbean Countries Get Mixed Review In 2022 Trafficking In Persons Report

(CMC) – The United States has given Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries mixed reviews for their efforts to deal with Trafficking in Persons (TIP) with Washington indicating that some of the countries did not even meet the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking”.

According to the United States, countries assessed as fully meeting the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking are placed on Tier 1, while those assessed as not fully meeting the minimum standards, but making significant efforts to meet them, are placed on Tier 2 or Tier 2 Watch List.

Countries assessed as not fully meeting the minimum standards and not making significant efforts to do so are ranked Tier 3.

In a review of selected Caricom countries, Washington, in its 2022 TIP Report, which assesses the anti-trafficking efforts of 188 governments, said while some countries did not meet the minimum standards, others were making efforts to deal with the situation.

The Jamaica government, according to the United States “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so”.

It said the Andrew Holness government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Jamaica remained on Tier 2.

“These efforts included identifying more victims, including survivors of labour trafficking; formally launching a national referral mechanism (NRM) for child victims; expanding training for officials on victim identification and referral; opening a child-friendly space for interviewing and providing immediate assistance to child victims, and’ making arrests for the illegal operation of private employment agencies.

“However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Convicted traffickers received suspended prison sentences and fines, penalties that were not on par with the severity of their crimes. Unlike last year, no victims were awarded restitution.”

The report noted that the government did not provide adequate funding for trafficking victim protection services. Although the government provided some training for law enforcement and criminal justice officials, these efforts were ad hoc, and the government did not provide consistent, standardised anti-trafficking training for officials.

In the case of Antigua and Barbuda, the US State Department said that the country “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so”.

Antigua and Barbuda was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List.”

The report noted that The Bahamas fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

It said the government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore The Bahamas remained on Tier 1.

Barbados attained a rating of Tier 2 after the United States said that the government “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so”.

It said the country of Haiti does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, even as it is making significant efforts to do so.

St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, are also among regional countries that do not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking even as it is making significant efforts to do so.

Suriname has also received a failed grade from the United States, even as it demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity.