Barbados downgrade the natural result of our all-talk-no-action politicians
On Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) that downgraded Barbados to the Tier 2 Watch List. This downgrade is one rating above the bottom.
After reading the 2010 TIP report it is apparent that the downgrade is a result of the United States’ realisation that our Barbados government delivers fine words but little real action when it comes to fighting trafficking in persons. Oh sure, the Barbados Government had some public awareness announcements and politicians made some fine statements when the 2009 TIP Report was released, but guess what? The USA just told our politicians that talk counts for nothing. Wuhloss! What are the DLP politicians, police and immigration officials going to do now?
Tier rankings and narratives are NOT affected by the following:
• efforts, however laudable, undertaken exclusively by nongovernmental actors in the country;
• public awareness events – government-sponsored or otherwise – lacking concrete ties to prosecution of traffickers, protection of victims, or prevention of trafficking; and,
• broad-based development or law enforcement initiatives without a discrete human trafficking focus.
… from page 22 of the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report
Our friends over at Keltruth Blog spotted this comment in the report…
“Weak efforts” You can only pretend to be doing something for so long before folks catch on – and the United States just delivered a message to Barbados that they know we took the aid money and did nothing substantial. As mentioned in the current and previous TIP reports, Barbados has been “drafting” a comprehensive anti-trafficking law since 2007. The 2010 TIP Report mentions that Barbados “continued” to draft this legislation – which is diplomatic terminology for “did nothing, achieved nothing”.
Are Bajans surprised at the downgrade? Not at all!
For years our governments also claimed to be “drafting” integrity legislation, freedom of information legislation, a Ministerial code of conduct, an environmental protection act and a host of other laws. We’re not including in this list the dozens of other legislative changes that our politicians have said they are “considering” because if we did that we’d run out of space.
But whether the politicians say they are “drafting” or “considering” legislation, it all amounts to the same thing: show business politics where the Government Ministers hold press conferences and announce they are “going to” do something in the future and the Bajan news media parrots the press releases like something really happened.
Our politicians have to learn that press conferences, public speeches and plans only appear to be “action” for a short time. After that, people catch on… as did the United States Department of State.
“Law enforcement and immigration officials continued to summarily deport undocumented foreigners without determining whether they are trafficking victims, the government opened no investigations into possible cases of sex or labor trafficking, and it did not prosecute any trafficking cases during the year. Therefore, Barbados is placed on tier 2 Watch List.”
… from page 73 of the Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 (available at US Dept. of State link here)
Barbados Police & Immigration: Not one Trafficking in Persons investigation
The TIP report criticises our Royal Barbados Police Force and immigration officials for failing to launch even one investigation despite numerous reports of trafficking in persons in our country as stated in the report. Again, our government, immigration officials and police can talk fine words all they want but that only works for a time before someone asks for real results.
The report accuses our law enforcement officials of deporting illegal immigrants without caring whether or not they are victims of trafficking. This is the worst abuse because it makes powerless and vulnerable people victims all over again. As the TIP report states and human rights proponents know –
“Deporting victims to their countries of origin without meaningful consent puts victims’ lives at risk – many face re-trafficking, violence, and sometimes death – and often allows perpetrators of forced labor or prostitution to evade justice. It is a government’s responsibility to immediately provide suspected foreign victims who have been exploited within its borders with protection and treatment, an explanation of their rights, and a choice to avoid deportation if they face danger in their own countries.”
… from page 19 of the Trafficking in Persons Report 2010
What about the Child Sex Trafficking report by BANGO Director Roosevelt O. King?
The statement in the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report that the Barbados Police hadn’t launched even one investigation is strange – considering the public report by a community leader about child sex trafficking from the USA to the Caribbean.
On August 3, 2009 in a stunning public statement on Barbados Underground, a popular Bajan blog, the Secretary General of the Barbados Association of Non-Governmental Organisations revealed that he has personal knowledge of international trafficking of American girls as young as 14 years old for the purposes of prostitution and making porn movies in the Caribbean.
The BANGO official also stated that he speaks with the girls and the people who are recruiting and trafficking them and that he is flooded with emails, photos and videos from some of the girls being trafficked after they return to the United States.
Barbados Free Press covered this story in August 2009 and again on May 14, 2010 (read the story at BFP here).
Is the Trafficking in Persons 2010 report wrong about the Barbados police not investigating even one case of human trafficking in 2009? Surely Mr. King would have reported the child-sex trafficking victims to the police? Surely the police would have launched an investigation upon reading Mr. King’s article at the Barbados Underground blog?
Next Article: Connections between the Porn Industry and Trafficking in Persons
This ends Part 1 of our Trafficking in Persons series. Our second article will explore the links between the Pornography Industry and trafficking in persons.
You can read the U.S. Department of State 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report and all previous years reports at the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons reports archive.
Here are some further excerpts from the Trafficking in Persons Report 2010…The Tier System
Countries whose governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards
Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards
TIER 2 WATCH LIST (Barbados)
Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards AND:
a) The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing; or
b) There is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or
c) The determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year
Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so
Barbados (tier 2 Watch List)
Barbados is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. Some children in Barbados are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in “transactional sex” wherein a third party such as a parent receives a benefit from the child’s participation in sexual activity.
Researchers identified patterns of transactional sex within families, most often by adult male caretakers such as step-fathers, as well as child prostitution outside the home. Women from the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Jamaica voluntarily enter Barbados as illegal migrants, and some expect to engage in prostitution. Some of these women are exploited in forced prostitution subsequent to their arrival. Some other foreign women who entered the country illegally are exploited in involuntary domestic servitude in private homes.
Foreign men have been transported to Barbados for the purpose of labor exploitation in construction and other sectors. Sex traffickers, primarily organized criminals from Guyana, form partnerships with pimps and brothel owners from Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, and lure women to Barbados with offers of legitimate work. Trafficking victims tend to enter the country through legal means, usually by air; traffickers later use force and coercion to obtain and maintain the victims’ work in strip clubs, massage parlors, some private residences, and “entertainment clubs” which operate as brothels.
Traffickers use methods such as threats of physical harm or deportation, debt bondage, false contracts, psychological abuse, and confinement to force victims to work in construction, the garment industry, agriculture, or private households.
The Government of Barbados does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these efforts, particularly an aggressive public campaign begun by government ministries and the continued drafting of a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, the government’s overall efforts did not improve over the reporting period. Law enforcement and immigration officials continued to summarily deport undocumented foreigners without determining whether they are trafficking victims, the government opened no investigations into possible cases of sex or labor trafficking, and it did not prosecute any trafficking cases during the year. therefore, Barbados is placed on tier 2 Watch List.
“As the crime of trafficking does not officially exist in Barbadian law, there are no legal protections provided for trafficking victims. Existing facilities which provide assistance to victims of other crimes, such as rape and child abuse, that are partially funded by the government and run by NGOs, may have provided services to child victims of sex trafficking without having identified them as human trafficking victims. neither government nor NGO personnel could provide information about whether any trafficking victims were identified at these facilities.”