Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August 2014, 12:42 GMT

2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Barbados

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 19 June 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Barbados, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30ce3c.html [accessed 28 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

BARBADOS (Tier 2 Watch List)

Barbados is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. The profile of human trafficking in Barbados is similar to those of other countries in the region. Evidence suggests there are foreign women forced into prostitution in Barbados. Legal and illegal immigrants from Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Guyana appear to be the most vulnerable to trafficking. The prostitution of children is known to exist in Barbados; a high-risk group is Barbadian and immigrant children engaging in transactional sex with older men for material goods. In the past, foreigners reportedly have been subjected to forced labor in Barbados, with the highest risk sectors being domestic service, agriculture, and construction.

The Government of Barbados does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government has not shown evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the previous year; therefore, Barbados is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a third consecutive year. Barbados was granted a waiver of an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has developed a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan. In March 2012, the Barbadian government issued a national action plan on human trafficking, containing specific deadlines and implementing agencies, addressing prosecution, protection, and prevention measures, and demonstrating its commitment to addressing human trafficking in a substantive way.

Recommendations for Barbados: Amend the 2011 legislation to prohibit all forms of human trafficking and prescribe penalties that are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes; implement procedures for law enforcement officers to identify proactively trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as people in prostitution and migrant workers; when conducting trafficking investigations, ensure suspected victims are taken to a safe location, as victims of human trafficking often feel threatened and are reluctant to identify themselves as victims during a raid; enact protections for victims of trafficking, including provisions that provide foreign victims with relief from immediate deportation and ensure victims are not punished for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked; increase funding to the NGO shelter and crisis center to ensure adequate assistance is available to human trafficking victims; and continue to develop awareness programs on all forms of human trafficking – including domestic servitude, other forms of forced labor, and commercial sexual exploitation of children – in partnership with NGOs through the use of radio or other media.

Prosecution

The Government of Barbados made little discernible progress in its law enforcement response to human trafficking during the reporting period. Barbadian law does not prohibit all forms of human trafficking. The Transnational Crime Bill (Part III), enacted in February 2011, prohibits some forms of trafficking, though it is inconsistent with international standards because it requires migration as a necessary element of human trafficking offenses. Moreover, it appears not to prohibit the forced labor or forced prostitution of Barbadian citizens and residents, but rather prohibits only the prosecution of persons who enter, exit, or are received into Barbados. This 2011 law prescribes maximum penalties of 15 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent, but are not commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape, and are lower than the penalties prescribed for the separate crime of human smuggling. The government did not report data on any investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of trafficking offenders under the 2011 Transnational Crime Bill or any other statute. It also did not report any actions taken against government employees complicit in human trafficking during the year. Barbados did not provide specialized training for government officials on how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute instances of trafficking, although the Gender Affairs Bureau conducted a presentation on human trafficking to Barbadian foreign service officers in July 2011.

Protection

The government did not demonstrate progress in protecting victims during the reporting period. Greatly hindering its ability to rescue victims, the government did not develop or employ systematic procedures to guide officials in proactively identifying victims of sex trafficking and forced labor and referring them to available services. The government did not report identifying any victims during the year or referring any potential victims to protection services, despite conducting raids on prostitution establishments. Officials drafted a formal protocol that outlines protections for trafficking victims, which the cabinet approved in February 2012. The government provided funding for an NGO shelter and crisis center providing security and services primarily for domestic violence victims, but also for women and children who had been trafficked. Despite significant financial strain, this organization provided very high quality services, had staff trained to handle trafficking cases, and had assisted trafficking victims in the past. There were no services available for possible male victims. The government did not have in place any specific policies to encourage victims' assistance in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking. It also did not offer foreign trafficking victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they would face hardship or retribution. The government did not have formal provisions in place to ensure identified victims would not be inappropriately penalized for unlawful offenses committed solely as a direct result of being in a human trafficking situation.

Prevention

The government made some efforts to prevent human trafficking in Barbados. In March 2012, the government established a high level interministerial group that included NGOs to coordinate the government's anti-trafficking efforts. The Gender Affairs Bureau director raised public awareness of trafficking indicators in two five-minute radio programs that the government information service aired multiple times throughout the year. The Bureau of Gender Affairs also presented a seminar on human trafficking to the members of a local government during the reporting period. The government funded the operation of a hotline staffed by professionals from the women's crisis center trained to identify human trafficking. The government did not report any efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The government has not identified a problem with child sex tourism. Barbados is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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