In a two- day workshop on human trafficking, Organization of American States security expert Fernando García-Robles explained that a number of Caribbean countries that are favored tourist destinations are now the center of a growing sex tourism industry. He expressed concern that the Free Movement of Skilled Nationals in CARICOM could result in increased human trafficking. In this dangerous cycle, children are a particularly vulnerable group in this type of trafficking. See excerpts with a link to the full article below:
According to the OAS Coordinator of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit in the Department of Public Security, Fernando García-Robles, a 2005 study done by the OAS and the International Organisation for Migration revealed that trans-border human trafficking exists in many Caribbean member states and many other countries interconnected with the region are also affected as source, transit or destination countries. García-Robles said that [. . . ] the Caribbean is also becoming a transit point for trafficked women and men en route to Europe, Asia and/or more economically developed countries in the Western Hemisphere.
“Studies in the region have revealed that every year men but particularly women and girls are recruited, transported, marketed and purchased by individual buyers, traffickers and members of the transnational organized crime syndicates, who operate within Caribbean countries with the main purpose of sexually exploiting them,” García-Robles said.
He noted that although quantitative information is not always available from different regions, the Caribbean reflects several trends that might increase its vulnerability to human trafficking. He further pointed out that the Caribbean is a region of extensive migration, with a rate of movement in relation to population that may be one of the highest in the world.
“Three migration flows occur in the Caribbean; internal migration, intra-regional and outward migration. The most influential factors affecting these migration flows are socioeconomic inequalities, tourism, and human trafficking,” he said.
[. . .] “This crime that enslaves millions of persons in the world every year targets for the purpose of labour and commercial sexual exploitation the most vulnerable populations,” he said.
It is estimated, he noted, that at least one million and quite possibly up to four million men, women, adolescents, boys and girls are victims of trafficking at the global level. To combat this rising crime, the OAS security expert said that it is necessary to go beyond the countries of origin, transit and destination, and it is also vital to address more than just the recruiters, transporters, exploiters, clients and beneficiaries. He said essentially it is a job which requires coordination at the inter-institutional and multi-dimensional levels, taking into account the prevention, prosecution of criminals, and the protection of victims.
[. . .] The security expert also mentioned the cunning ways traffickers use to attract their prospective victims by convincing them to migrate voluntarily to economically developed countries with false promises and offerings of well-paid jobs such as waitresses, models, dancers, domestic workers, and nannies, among others. They advertise their fake work offers in local newspapers and marriage agencies. In some cases they directly contact the victims and/or their families to offer the jobs abroad or in urban centres in the victims’ own countries. Frequently, the victims have to pay large sums of money for services issued by the traffickers and even their own maintenance once they arrive at the destination, making the exploitation never ending.
Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee pointed out that trafficking in persons is a very lucrative industry as according to estimates by researchers it is now the fastest growing criminal industry in the world and globally it is tied with the illegal arms trade as the second largest illegal industry behind the drugs trade.
See photo and related article “Barbados to finalise human trafficking protocol” at http://www.caribbean360.com/index.php/news/13396.html