U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Belize
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||11 June 2003|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Belize, 11 June 2003, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d7b723.html [accessed 26 July 2014]|
Belize (Tier 3)
[*Please note: Belize was updated to Tier 2 per President George W. Bush, Presidential Determination No. 2003-35, September 9, 2003.]
Belize is a destination country for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Victims are mainly women and girls from Central American countries lured by traffickers into prostitution and nude dancing. Young Belizean women and girls also are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation. There are reports of labor trafficking among the migrant agricultural worker community.
The Government of Belize does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Trafficking is not acknowledged as a serious problem, nor publicly discussed by senior officials of the government and members of law enforcement agencies.
The government does not implement any direct anti-trafficking prevention efforts. In the context of general public welfare, the government does support some activities that contribute to wider social development. For example, the Ministry of Human Development, Women and Children and Civil Society has a number of programs designed to advance the rights and well being of women and children. Belize has high participation rates for primary education and high literacy rates for both men and women.
In 1997, the government amended its Immigration Act to criminalize the offense of trafficking in illegal immigrants. There are no laws that specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, although general immigration laws could be applied to illegal trafficking entry into Belize. The government has not prosecuted any traffickers, nor has it investigated any trafficking cases. The government does not adequately control its borders, nor does it monitor immigration and emigration patterns to find evidence of trafficking. The constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor, and there are statutes outlawing activities surrounding procuring and prostitution, but these laws are rarely enforced.
The government does not assist victims of trafficking, although two NGOs operate shelters for women. Foreign trafficking victims are generally treated as immigration violators and are deported, fined, or jailed.