Caribbean countries in U.S. 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report

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Yesterday, the United States State Department released its 2019 TIP report. Guyana was one of the countries that demonstrated “serious and sustained efforts” in combating the issue of human trafficking and thus remained among the Tier 1 countries, a list that includes the United States and Great Britain. The other Caribbean country in Tier 1 is The Bahamas.

The report said that Antigua and Barbuda “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” listing the country under Tier 2 status. Other Caribbean countries in this tier are Aruba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. The Tier 2 Watch List includes Barbados, Belize, and Curaçao.

The report also demoted Cuba to Tier 3, the lowest ranking a country can get, along with Venezuela. [It is interesting to note that this year’s annual State Department report on human trafficking around the world eliminated a section that appeared in last year’s report warning that—in the United States—children who have been separated from their parents are vulnerable to traffickers. However, it underlines the high risk of abuse and trafficking for children in foster care.

In the article “Guyana lauded for “serious and sustained efforts,” the Guyana Chronicle states that the Government of Guyana fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The article also states: “It was noted that such penalties were sufficiently stringent during the reporting period and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. It said that the The Ministry of Social Protection was the lead agency responsible for coordinating trafficking efforts, overseeing the Anti-Trafficking Unit (ATU), and participating on the government’s Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons (the Task Force).”

The article underlines Guyana’s investigations, prosecutions of suspected traffickers, and convictions. It also points out that the Social Protection Ministry’s Anti-Trafficking Unit held several sensitization campaigns for teachers, students, Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs), prison staff and inmates, and malls and markets across Guyana.

Also “in April this year, the Ministry of Social Protection, in collaboration with international partners, officially launched Guyana’s National Policy on Child Labour and National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), moves geared at pushing Guyana forward towards the elimination of child labour and which will promote and improve the quality of life and safety of workers.”

Sources: https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-trafficking-in-persons-report/, http://guyanachronicle.com/2019/06/21/guyana-lauded-for-serious-and-sustained-efforts-in-2019-tip-report, https://antiguaobserver.com/ab-falls-short-in-enforcing-human-trafficking-regulations-report/, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/us-human-trafficking-report-drops-child-separation-warning/

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