Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 14:04 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Special Cases - Barbados

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 4 June 2008
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Special Cases - Barbados, 4 June 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/484f9a4a26.html [accessed 17 April 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 remains a special case for a second consecutive year due to a sustained lack of adequate information indicating a significant number of trafficking victims within the country. However, limited reporting continues to suggest the existence of some human trafficking in Barbados. Although reliable data from either the government or international organizations remains lacking, the Government of Barbados has been proactive in prosecuting a few suspected traffickers and making efforts to prevent new incidents of trafficking. A more effective government response would include enactment of national anti-trafficking laws and greater efforts to protect victims, particularly development of a pre-deportation mechanism for identifying trafficking victims among undocumented migrants and detainees.

Scope and Magnitude. Anecdotal information suggests that Barbados may be a destination and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Some internal trafficking of children into prostitution may be facilitated by victims' families. Reports indicate that women and girls from Guyana, the Dominican Republic, and other Caribbean islands may be trafficked to Barbados for sexual exploitation in strip clubs and brothels, as well as for domestic servitude. Some migrants, mostly men from China, India, and Guyana, may be subjected to conditions of labor in construction and other sectors. Barbados also may be a sex tourism destination.

Government Efforts. While Barbados has no specific law prohibiting human trafficking, existing statutes against sexual offenses and forced labor have been used to prosecute some trafficking-related crimes. In past years, the government initiated prosecutions against a small number of alleged traffickers, although it often deported foreign victim witnesses for immigration violations before they could assist with the government's prosecutions. Many of these cases were later dismissed due to lack of victim testimony. In 2007, regional security forces dismantled a sex trafficking ring destined for Barbados, which involved child victims as young as 13- and 14-years-old from China, Russia, and other Caribbean countries. Regional police officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, along with Barbadian security forces, indicated that the main organizers of the ring were from Barbados and Guyana. No arrests or prosecutions in connection with this case have been reported. In another case, a local court convicted an India-based construction company for trafficking 14 Indian nationals into Barbados in 2005, and fined the company $1,000. Prosecutors had attempted to secure a heavier punishment, but their case was weakened when the company sent the workers home before they could assist with the government's investigation. Additional anti-trafficking training – especially for law enforcement, immigration, and labor personnel – could assist Barbadian officials to identify victims and to provide support. During the reporting period, the government increased collaboration with NGOs, and took steps to raise public awareness of human trafficking by organizing anti-trafficking public forums and workshops.

Although the number of trafficking victims in Barbados may be limited, victim protection services, specifically targeting trafficking victims, are not readily available; the government relies on NGOs and international organizations to provide the bulk of assistance to trafficking victims. Immigration officials screen undocumented foreigners before deporting them, but do not specifically attempt to identify potential trafficking victims. Victims may be penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Barbados has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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