2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Antigua and Barbuda
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||27 June 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Antigua and Barbuda, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee9bc.html [accessed 12 March 2014]|
Antigua and Barbuda (Tier 2)
Antigua and Barbuda is a destination and transit country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Legal and illegal immigrants from Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Guyana are reported to represent the population most vulnerable to trafficking. Reportedly forced prostitution occurs in bars and brothels. There also have been incidences of forced domestic service and persons forced to work on farm lands or to sell clothing.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government made substantial progress during the reporting period by enacting legislation that prohibits all forms of trafficking and provides explicit and extensive victim protection measures. The government also identified and assisted victims, and conducted prevention activities. The government initiated some trafficking investigations, including one into potential police complicity, but did not report any prosecutions, convictions, or punishment of trafficking offenders over the past year.
Recommendations for Antigua and Barbuda: Provide adequate funding to implement the new Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act 2010; continue identifying and assisting victims in accordance with the Act; increase training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges on addressing forced prostitution and forced labor; and vigorously prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders, including officials complicit in human trafficking.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda made progress on anti-trafficking law enforcement by passing legislation prohibiting all forms of trafficking. The newly passed and enacted Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act 2010, prohibits forced prostitution and forced labor, including bonded labor, and prescribes punishments of 20 to 30 years' imprisonment with fines. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape. The law is comprehensive, including extensive victim protection measures. During the reporting period, the government conducted at least two sex trafficking investigations and one forced labor investigation. The government reported no prosecutions or convictions of trafficking offenders during the reporting period under the new act or other statutes. In a positive development, the government spoke publicly about the linkage between official complicity and human trafficking. The government temporarily suspended one police officer for involvement in a human trafficking case but did not report a follow-up prosecution in this case. The government did not report other investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of officials complicit in human trafficking. The police did not offer formal training for its officers in identifying human trafficking, but the Directorate of Gender Affairs held local workshops to train some officials during the reporting period.
The government made progress in the protection of trafficking victims during the reporting period, despite a lack of resources and capacity challenges. Government officials identified three victims of sex trafficking during the reporting period. The government demonstrated use of its procedures to guide officials in identifying victims of human trafficking among vulnerable groups and referring them to care providers. The government's Gender Affairs Directorate oversaw an "Emergency Safe Havens" network to provide shelter in confidential locations to victims through partnerships with local businesses, churches, clinics, and volunteers. The government provided the three identified victims with medical and mental-health services and other immediate needs over the reporting period, spending at least $1,200. All three of the victims assisted in the criminal investigations of their exploiters. Pursuant to the victim protection provisions of the newly enacted Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act of 2010, the government ensured that the three identified victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked, and offered the victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face retribution or hardship. The Act has extensive additional victim protections, including victim confidentiality provisions and victim compensation. It also states that past sexual behavior of victims and consent of victims to exploitation are irrelevant to accessing benefits or pursuing the prosecution of trafficking offenders. The Directorate of Gender Affairs spoke publicly during the reporting period about the government's past successful integration of a foreign victim into Antiguan society; this is one of the only documented cases of long-term assistance provided to a trafficking victim in the Caribbean region.
The Antiguan government demonstrated significant trafficking prevention efforts during the last year. It produced human trafficking public awareness brochures and radio spots in English and Spanish. The Directorate of Gender Affairs also hosted community talks and distributed posters throughout Antigua to raise awareness about human trafficking. The government continued to operate a hotline with operators trained to identify and assist human trafficking victims. The Directorate of Gender affairs coordinated an inter-ministerial anti-trafficking coalition, which met monthly to discuss suspected cases, formulate strategies to address cases, and follow up with law enforcement conducting investigations. The new Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act 2010 calls for the establishment of a trafficking in persons prevention committee to be comprised of cabinet-level officials who will provide senior leadership on anti-trafficking matters; the committee, which will monitor the government's anti-trafficking efforts, has not yet been established. The government did not have a specific campaign to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The government has not identified a problem with child sex tourism in Antigua or involving its nationals.