Human Trafficking is characterized by 1. The Act (What is done) 2. The Means (How it is done) 3. The Purpose (Why it is done) People may fall victim to Human Trafficking for many purposes. One common purpose is for prostitution. Sexual labour is identified as coerced labour. Other common purposes are for child labour and the sex trade. The Vatican has described Human Trafficking as being worse than slavery and has been described as the "Silent Crime of the Caribbean".
Regional organizations such as the Association of Caribbean States, CARICOM and the Organization of American States have all expressed their displeasure at the rapid increase of human trafficking cases in the Caribbean. This growing practice impacts many nations across the world and the Caribbean has recently been drawn into what is being called a “global panic. ” In the Caribbean the group causing the most concern in regards to Human Trafficking is Irregular Migrants – this includes the females transported to other locations (countries or regions) as commercial sex workers.
The nature of the purpose can, without scholarly or legislative support, indicate that this is a violation of basic human rights. Caribbean governments are being asked to present an annual report to the US government outlining the steps they have taken and will take to challenge unregulated migration and forced labour, which are indicators of human trafficking. The countries are ranked according to their compliance with US’ wishes and a country that does not rank well or refuses to present a report are threatened with economic sanctions.
Jamaica is among some of the countries that have been negatively ranked. However, the US government believes that Jamaica has the will and potential to improve their third tier status. Most victims of human trafficking may find themselves in situations where they fall prey to both physical and emotional abuse. Oftentimes Caribbean women are lured to the US with false promises of employment and are then sold by trafficking gangs, to the highest bidders all over the US and Europe. Caribbean states are eager to remain in good moral standing on an international platform.
Hence, concerns about human trafficking in the Caribbean have increased mainly due to the idea of female prostitution and the urgency to rescue and protect a woman’s sexual purity. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Do they actually care about these issues or do they care by extension of their international image? Human trafficking is generally practised in the Caribbean in an effort to supply a demand for cheap, unskilled labour (irregular immigrants) and for sex workers in the tourist industry (irregular migrants).
Human trafficking is common in many regions which are overpopulated and have high unemployment and poverty rates. According to the IOM* Legal Review concerning trafficking in the Caribbean statue laws have been put in place for the prosecution of traffickers, the protection of trafficking victims and the prevention of trafficking activities. Outside of the US and Europe, many other countries do not have the resources to put in place extensive legislation to fight human trafficking. However, there are some laws that can offer help to curb trafficking activities.
The Caribbean’s inability to compare favourably with the level of the US and Europe’s fight against human trafficking is due to many economic, social, and legal factors. Some such factors are * “Law enforcement including prosecution and sentencing which may also be as a result of often using outdated criminal codes with inadequate penalties, many of which have not been reformed since the countries gained their independence. ” (IOM 2005) Most Caribbean nations do have the desire to eradicate human trafficking but the state of their economies paired with their pre-independence law enforcement techniques serve as a deterrent.
Of all the countries that have made an effort to combat human trafficking, Guyana has been the most successful by drafting a bill to Parliament which includes life penalties for trafficking persons, and stiff penalties for other trafficking related activities. This bill covers every eventuality concerning human trafficking. Jamaica has also introduced the Child Care and Protection Act which stipulates a penalty of ten years for trafficking children and provides protection to child victims. The provision that covers trafficking states that: 10. (1) No person shall sell or participate in the trafficking of any child”24 This leaves the rest of us at the will of traffickers, don’t you think. Unless the victim is a child, there is simply no law to cover such an eventuality. There is no legislation that criminalizes trafficking in women and children; however elements of the crime are upheld in the criminal code. But considering that some instances of human trafficking is likely to be for sexual purposes, sexual offences law can help to prosecute criminals involved.
Most Caribbean countries include in their constitutions a guaranteed freedom from forced labour and slavery. This guarantor dictates a fundamental right but does not include how it is to be implemented. This right is only enforceable against the state and not private individuals or entities, which means there is no provision for redress against actual traffickers. There are clearly inadequate provisions for victims of human trafficking, largely due to the limited resources that are available to implement these services.
The “patchwork” criminal approach can continue to be used as a substitute for a better legislative system until concrete provisions are instituted to cover the eventualities of human trafficking. And even then it is recommended that the weak and inconsistent criminal laws are reformed. INTERNATIONAL LAWS AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING 1. United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime 2. United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children 3.
United Nations Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea, and Air 4. United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN. GIFT) 5. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) 6. Coordinated Mekong Ministerial Initiative against Trafficking (COMMIT) * Coordinated by China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam 7. Caribbean Counter-Trafficking Model Legislation 8. Belize - Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2003 9. Guyana - Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act 2005