Prostitution and Sex Trafficking.

Most acts of prostitution amount to sex trafficking!

That is because the inherent vulnerability of most persons who sell sexual services make them easy targets for recruitment and exploitation.

Abuse of their vulnerability places this within the ambit of the definition of trafficking in persons under the Palermo Protocol.

Please read and consider the following statement:-

“It is rare that one finds a case in which the path to prostitution and/or a person’s experiences within prostitution do not involve, at the very least, an abuse of power and/or abuse of vulnerability.”
(Sigma Huda, former UN Rapporteur on Human Trafficking)

Register for the Regional Freedom from Slavery Forum

Hi everyone, it’s the month of November and there are many events taking place, mainly online in keeping with the COVID-19 protocols for most countries.

One of the events we highly urge you to try to attend is the last of the regional FFS Forum online events for 2021. It will cover North America, Europe and the beautiful Caribbean!

The Forum will take place from the 15th to 17th November and will explore the issues related to human trafficking, forced labour and modern slavery through the experiences of survivors and activists across these 3 regions.

It will be riveting, diverse and informative so don’t miss it!

To register, please click the link below.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIucO-hqTojHNXbtWl323Ta0ZZx1Yty8FQZ

World Day Against Trafficking In Persons

Today marks the United Nations observance of World Day Against Trafficking In Persons. The commemoration of the Day was proclaimed in December 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/68/192.

This year’s theme – “Victims’ Voices Lead the Way” – puts victims of human trafficking at the centre of the campaign and will highlight the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking. The campaign portrays survivors as key actors in the fight against human trafficking and focusses on the crucial role they play in establishing effective measures to prevent this crime, identify and rescue victims and support them on their road to rehabilitation.

Many victims of human trafficking have experienced ignorance or misunderstanding in their attempts to get help. They have had traumatic post-rescue experiences during identification interviews and legal proceedings. Some have faced revictimization and punishment for crimes they were forced to commit by their traffickers. Others have been subjected to stigmatization or received inadequate support.

Learning from victims’ experiences and turning their suggestions into concrete actions will lead to a more victim-centred and effective approach in combating human trafficking.

We salute this year’s theme and the unmistakeable message it sends that survivors of trauma have immeasurable value and should be regarded as much more than the horrible events that happened to them. It recognises the post-traumatic growth that survivors can encounter and the wisdom their experience can bring to strategies to prevent further exploitation in society.

We encourage our readers to seek out their national law enforcement or social service agency that combats human trafficking to inquire the manner in which they may be observing World Day Against Trafficking In Persons.

Guyana Imposes Visa Restrictions to Avoid TIP Designation

In a follow up to a recent post, Guyana is now taking steps to impose visa entry requirements for Haitian and Cuban nationals in an effort to limit the number of such vulnerable persons entering its jurisdiction and becoming victims of trafficking for labour or sexual exploitation.

This move comes after multiple instances of exploitation of these foreign nationals have occurred including one recently involving several Haitian children. While Guyana is in the spotlight at this time for this reason, a number of other countries in the region have previously imposed entry restrictions on Haitian nationals.

“Attorney general and minister of legal affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall says the government is trying to prevent possible sanctions for enabling an environment for Trafficking in Persons (TIP); stated, it is, for this reason, president Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali instituted a visa requirement for Haitians seeking to enter Guyana.

Local records show that some 38,187 Haitians who entered Guyana cannot be accounted for. This, he said, has become a cause for concerns for the government. The attorney general said between 2015 and 2021, some 42,100 Haitians legally entered the country; however, only 3,913 left.

‘Trafficking in persons is one of the most serious offenses afflicting the world today. Human smuggling is a major international threat in today’s global environment, and it is against that backdrop that one must view the decision of the government of Guyana.”

The AG went into further detail as to the criminal scheme involving the migrants – “The government intelligence indicates that many of the Haitians who came are women and children, including pregnant mothers and under-age girls.

‘When they enter into Guyana, from all the evidence, and we have accumulated evidence over a protracted period of time, there is a highly organised operation that has all the trappings of an organised ring that deals with these Haitians.

“From the time they leave the departure lounge of the [airport], they are whisked away into waiting vehicles and they are taken to destinations in various parts of the country.’

The trend shows that their travel and other identification documents are seized, while they are kept in secret accommodation by the persons in charge of the operation.”

For more on this developing situation in Guyana, please click the link below.

https://menafn.com/1102349826/Guyana-takes-action-to-avoid-TIP-designation

Another Death Boat found in the Caribbean

Even as the Southern Caribbean island of Tobago is still reeling from the discovery of a drifting boat with the decomposed remains of more than a dozen foreign nationals, news comes from the Turks and Caicos Islands where a similar grisly find occurred recently.

There 20 people, including 2 children were among the dead. Investigations are ongoing but human trafficking or migrant smuggling may not yet have been ruled out.

“The Turks and Caicos are often a magnet for desperate Haitians seeking to flee their poverty-stricken nation. The territory also has been used as a transshipment point by human traffickers.”

For more information, please see the article linked to below.

https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-06-28/20-people-found-dead-boat-turks-and-caicos

Haitian children found in hotel room in Guyana

An investigation has been launched following an incident which 10 Haitian children were found in a hotel room in the Berbice region.

According to a government statement – the children, five boys, and five girls, did not have in their possession passports or any other form of identification.

When questioned by police, one of the children said they were transported to Guyana from neighbouring Suriname by speed boat and were dropped off at the hotel on, June 14.

A spokesperson for the group also told police the person who deposited them there, took their passports and all personal belongings.

“It has long been suspected that there is huge trafficking in persons and human smuggling ring, including children, taking place in the Region and Guyana is being used as a transit point in this racket, which includes Cubans, Nigerians and Haitians, among others. This is the latest manifestation of this nefarious racket at work which seems to be operating on a daily basis.”

The statement added that the governments of Brazil and Suriname have expressed concern over the situation.

For the full story, please go to https://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20210620/haitian-children-found-hotel-room-guyana-police-launch-probe

The Real Kingsman (Not a Movie)

Hollywood has highlighted many heroic men and women over the decades, often portraying them with superhuman abilities. In real life, few superheroes exist.

Or maybe they do, but prefer to fly under the radar? Much like this group, Kingsman.

Kingsman is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping women and children with abduction support, human trafficking escape and domestic violence situations. Since 2005, Kingsman has been operating on seven continents at no charge to its clients.

In a recent release, Kingsman announced that it’s work in India will be expanded to provide free protection to more vulnerable women in New Delhi.

Insofar as its human trafficking operation is concerned, Our Kingsman are not only security contractors, but they are also licensed private investigators, former detectives, special agents and military operators who locate victims of human trafficking and turn their findings over for prosecution.

Kudos to the company and its nonprofit arm for providing such an important service with a “pay-it-forward” model.

For more information, please visit their website at http://www.therealkingsman.org/

(Thanks to Anthony Laing who shared this information on LinkedIn.)

Support Organisations that Provide Direct Services to Trafficking Survivors.

Fighting human trafficking and supporting survivors requires the effort and input of every human being and entity. Often, business is not as engaged as some believe they can be.

Apart from ensuring they are not engaging in labour trafficking, having transparent supply chains and discouraging employees from patronising sex trafficking, there are many other things business entities can do.

One way corporations can show support for survivors of Human Trafficking is to donate to vetted organisations that provide direct services to Survivors.

There are many survivor-led (as well as other noble) organisations working hard to help survivors using a variety of strategies that help and empower them and their families.

There is also the UN Voluntary Trust Fund to which large corporations and States can make contributions.

Human beings are trafficked for sexual exploitation, forced labour & marriages, organ removal, begging and forced criminality.

The UN Voluntary Trust Fund #UNVTF10 follows a victim-centred approach and seeks to guarantee the rights of each individual victim. #EndHumanTrafficking

Incarcerating Trafficked Persons Traumatizes Them!

We’re grateful to Michelle Mildwater of Denmark who shared this post on LinkedIn recently.

It highlights that the practice of treating trafficking victims like criminals because of the way they entered a country is a pervasive one around the world.

Many victims experienced trauma, abuse and exploitation in their past before being found by traffickers. Some are smuggled from their country of origin into another country where they will be exploited.

To hold the trafficking victim fully and solely responsible for the actions of abusers and exploiters is contrary to the intent of law as a means of effecting justice.

What we need is a therapeutic approach to justice that does not harm those already in harm’s way, identifies who has been hurt and how, and tries to repair the harm done with holistic measures, while doing what is required to make systemic changes to prevent further harm to others.

For Michelle’s article on the challenges faced by detained African migrants who were trafficked to Europe please click the link below.

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/activity-6796670234901135360-pxJm

Article on Trafficking from Venezuela to T&T

A recent article has outlined a series of reports about sex trafficking from Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago.

For details, please see the link below.

https://insightcrime.org/news/venezuela-other-plight-sex-trafficking-trinidad-and-tobago/

The Venezuela-Trinbago Connection

The human trafficking link between the South American country of Venezuela and the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago has been under scrutiny for several years.

The past decade has seen the desire of men in Trinidad and Tobago for exotic Latin women to sexually exploit shift back and forth. This has been due, in part, to ease of access to vulnerable women and also to the targeted efforts of cross border law enforcement collaboration.

The supply countries to fuel the sex trade have shifted from Venezuela to Colombia to the Dominican Republic and now back to Venezuela.

In its more affluent years, Venezuela was able to provide for its population and that meant fewer women were willing to make the journey to Trinidad via smugglers’ routes.

During those times sex traffickers targeted Colombian women, some of whose families were facing hardship caused, in part, by the long standing internal conflict between the government and the FARC.

With peace coming to Colombia, greater cross border collaboration among law enforcement agencies and heightened awareness of the use of smuggling routes to exploit women in the sex trade, the criminals shifted focus to the DR and flew women into Trinidad, sometimes with valid travel documents. Having legal status, they sometimes slipped under the radar of immigration and law enforcement.

However, the financial and humanitarian hardships in Venezuela over the past 5 years have led to a massive supply of vulnerable migrants. With over 5 million people fleeing the country, thousands have made their way to Trinidad – often illegally – in the hope of a better life.

With precious little being done by the State to address make demand for commercial sex, a voracious appetite is being fueled by a now abundant supply of Latin women, made even more vulnerable due to the financial crisis at home and legal conundrum they face on arrival in Trinidad. Detentions and deportations are the norm.

The supply-demand dynamics allowed for some cunning individuals to resort to the sex trade as side income, even though they were not members of the underworld. Women and girls seeking food, shelter and survival from Trini males were sometimes rented out for lewd dancing at parties and for sex acts.

As around the world, Covid-19 and the public health responses have exacerbated the financial situation in both countries. One result is that some bars and clubs run by or employing Venezuelan migrants have been forced to remain closed.

Meanwhile, the promise by the Trinidad and Tobago government of Covid-19 healthcare and vaccines for all, coupled with the lack of reliable medical services in Venezuela have contributed to a rise in sea crossings by desperate Venezuelans, even at the risk of death.

Undoubtedly, it will require greater effort by law enforcement and society as a whole to effectively prevent the commission of this crime.