Wednesday 11 December, 2019

T&T maintains Tier 2 ranking in 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report

According to the United States Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2019, Trinidad and Tobago has maintained its Tier 2 ranking.

The report which was released on Thursday noted that T&T does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.

The Trafficking in Persons Report 2019 added these included increasing anti-trafficking training for its officials, initiating investigations against three potentially complicit officials, initiating more prosecutions, establishing a new intelligence task force to improve investigations, and developing a new memorandum of understanding between its children’s authority and anti-trafficking unit to better protect child victims.

However, the United States Department of State added that the government of Trinidad and Tobago did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.

The report expressed concern, that due to a lack of screening, the government penalized some trafficking victims, including children, for immigration offences as a result of the trafficking crime.

“The government had yet to secure a conviction under its 2011 anti-trafficking law. Public officials, media, and experts noted increasing reports of potential government complicity in trafficking cases, with insufficient government attention to the issue.

Due to a lack of screening, the government penalized some trafficking victims, including children, for immigration offenses as a result of the trafficking crime. It did not adequately screen migrants, asylum-seekers, or refugees for trafficking indicators, including among Venezuelans. The government decreased the amount of funding for victim services and did not provide adequate victim care in some cases.”

Recommendations

The recommendations provided include increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers, including complicit officials and increase proactive victim identification and screening among migrants, asylum-seekers, 463 and refugees.

It noted that the government should also ensure trafficking victims are adequately screened so that they are not penalized for crimes that occurred during their exploitation.

Some of the other recommendations made include:

  • Provide adequate funding for robust trafficking investigations and victim services, including accommodations
  • Improve cooperation between the Counter Trafficking Unit, prosecutors, and NGOs to increase the number of cases that proceed to trial
  • Increase funding and services for language interpreters available to law enforcement and victim care.
  • Provide specialized care to child trafficking victims
  • Strengthen oversight and regulation of private labour recruitment agencies and domestic workers.
  • Increase training on trafficking for NGOs and shelter staff to improve their ability to identify and care for potential trafficking victims
  • Increase the ability to accept victim video testimony in court proceedings
  • Consider increasing NGO representation to the anti-trafficking task force
  • Begin drafting a national action plan for the period beyond 2020.

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