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Human Trafficking in  [Trinidad & Tobago]  [other countries]
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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

In the early years of the 21st Century                                          gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Trinidad&Tobago.htm

Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses and has one of the highest growth rates and per capita incomes in Latin America.

Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources but it also supplies manufactured goods, notably food and beverages, as well as cement to the Caribbean region.

The Manning administration has benefited from fiscal surpluses fueled by the dynamic export sector; however, declines in oil and gas prices have reduced government revenues which will challenge his government's commitment to maintaining high levels of public investment.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Trinidad&Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. In some instances, women and girls from Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and the Dominican Republic have been identified as trafficking victims in Trinidadian brothels and casinos.   Additional reporting suggests that men from China and Guyana may be trafficked to Trinidad and Tobago for labor exploitation in construction and other sectors. Trinidad and Tobago also is a transit point to Caribbean destinations such as Barbados and the Netherlands Antilles for traffickers and their victims. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009 [full country report]

 

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Trinidad & Tobago.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** FEATURED ARTICLE ***

Where Are the Missing People?

Peter Richards, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Port Of Spain, 6 Jan 2009

www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45311

[accessed 1 January 2011]

When 15-year-old Devika Lalman left her home a few days before Christmas to buy school supplies for the new academic term, her parents had taken all the necessary precautions to ensure her safety.   The mother of the Form Three student said she had also given her daughter a cell phone, but all calls to that phone have gone unanswered and the daughter has not been seen since.

"Almost all the women who disappeared left behind a pattern. Their cell phones were switched off. We also heard that they were transported from one house to another before being shipped out."   The Sunday Guardian newspaper, which carried out its own investigation, said that the "clandestine local trade, which operates through a well-organised network and is supported by several powerful agencies, is linked to an international human trafficking ring".   The paper said that children were being sold for as much as 34,000 dollars and adults for half that amount.   "They are mostly used as sex slaves and sometimes for slave labour. Sometimes, they are used to make pay-offs in the drug trade," the paper said, noting that the trafficking also includes young women who were being brought into the country from Venezuela, Colombia and Guyana.

"We recognise that legislation is critically important at this point because without proper legislation, which is really one of the handicaps in the social areas, we could not possibly move forward in terms of consequences for human traffickers," said the party's deputy leader, Dr Sharon Gopaul McNicol, a clinical psychologist.   She told a news conference that most of the human trafficking "takes place in small boats where people are drugged and shipped off to other countries, primarily those countries that people don't speak English so there is little chance of the victims being able to get away without much difficulty."

 

*** ARCHIVES ***

The Department of Labor’s 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor [PDF]

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2007

www.dol.gov/ilab/media/reports/tda/tda2006/Trinidad_and_Tobago.pdf

[accessed 1 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children in Trinidad and Tobago are reported to work in agriculture, scavenging, loading and stocking goods, gardening, car repair, car washing, construction, fishing, and begging.  Children also work as handymen, shop assistants, cosmetologist assistants, domestic servants, and street vendors. These activities are usually reported as being part of family business.  Children are also reported to be victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - In August 2006, the Ministry of Social Development published the Revised National Plan of Action for Children, which includes specific goals for combating commercial sexual exploitation of children and exploitive child labor. The National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor, with the advice and support of the ILO, is participating in a project to withdraw and rehabilitate child laborers at two landfill sites in Trinidad and Tobago.

Human Rights Reports » 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, February 25, 2009

www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/wha/119175.htm

[accessed 1 January 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The law does not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, but perpetrators could be prosecuted under several related laws. Although media reports asserted that trafficking in persons was a growing problem, law enforcement officials stated that they had no reports of trafficking of nationals to, from, through, or within the country. They acknowledged occasional irregular migration by foreign women, often for purposes of prostitution, who were deported when discovered.

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [c] Although the law does not specifically prohibit forced or compulsory labor, including by children, there were no reports that such practices occurred.

The Protection Project - Trinidad & Tobago [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

www.protectionproject.org/human_rights_reports/report_documents/trinidad.doc

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation is a growing concern in the entire Caribbean region. Millions of children in the region are victims of commercial sexual exploitation, sex tourism, pornography, underage domestic labor, and trafficking.

Sex tourism is reportedly on the rise in Trinidad and Tobago, and European and North American men are the main sex tourists. Tourist agencies and unlisted guesthouses apparently run the industry, by advertising package deals in magazines that include the costs of buying a woman.  Older men are known to recruit children for prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, and it has been reported that girls across all socioeconomic strata often initiate sexual relationships with cab drivers in exchange for transportation or other goods.

Child labor is a problem in Trinidad and Tobago. Exact numbers of children who are working in Trinidad and Tobago do not exist; however, studies show that children on these islands are working as beggars and street vendors and are involved in prostitution and the drug trade.

AG: No evidence of human trafficking in T&T

Richard Lord, Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 6 January 2009

www.guardian.co.tt/archives/news/crime/2009/01/07/ag-no-evidence-human-trafficking-tt

[accessed 23 June 2013]

Attorney General Bridgid Annisette-George says there is “no empirical evidence to show the existence of human trafficking in this country. In a brief comment on the issue Tuesday, Annisette-George said it must be noted, however, that T&T was part of a world which was shrinking in size through the effects of globalisation. She said given the vibrancy of the scourge of human trafficking in the international arena it was incumbent that T&T “be anticipatory in its approach to institute preventative/precautionary measures such as tightening our immigration policies and improving on capacity to patrol our borders.”

Where Are the Missing People?

Peter Richards, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Port Of Spain, 6 Jan 2009

www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45311

[accessed 1 January 2011]

When 15-year-old Devika Lalman left her home a few days before Christmas to buy school supplies for the new academic term, her parents had taken all the necessary precautions to ensure her safety.   The mother of the Form Three student said she had also given her daughter a cell phone, but all calls to that phone have gone unanswered and the daughter has not been seen since.

"Almost all the women who disappeared left behind a pattern. Their cell phones were switched off. We also heard that they were transported from one house to another before being shipped out."   The Sunday Guardian newspaper, which carried out its own investigation, said that the "clandestine local trade, which operates through a well-organised network and is supported by several powerful agencies, is linked to an international human trafficking ring".   The paper said that children were being sold for as much as 34,000 dollars and adults for half that amount.   "They are mostly used as sex slaves and sometimes for slave labour. Sometimes, they are used to make pay-offs in the drug trade," the paper said, noting that the trafficking also includes young women who were being brought into the country from Venezuela, Colombia and Guyana.

"We recognise that legislation is critically important at this point because without proper legislation, which is really one of the handicaps in the social areas, we could not possibly move forward in terms of consequences for human traffickers," said the party's deputy leader, Dr Sharon Gopaul McNicol, a clinical psychologist.   She told a news conference that most of the human trafficking "takes place in small boats where people are drugged and shipped off to other countries, primarily those countries that people don't speak English so there is little chance of the victims being able to get away without much difficulty."

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 2   Civil Liberties: 2   Status: Free

2009 Edition

www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2009/trinidad-and-tobago

[accessed 28 June 2012]

Human trafficking in Trinidad: Children being sold for over 200,000

Port Of Spain, 21 December 2008

www.baiganchoka.com/blog/human-trafficking-in-trinidad-children-being-sold-for-over-200000/

[accessed 1 January 2011]

The Guardian newspaper of Trinidad published a disturbing report in which it alleges that human traffickers are on the prowl, looking to lure children and women to sell them for big money.   The report states that “children, because they live longer, are sold for over $200,000. Adults can fetch as much as $100,000. They are mostly used as sex slaves and sometimes for slave labour.   “Sometimes, they are used to make pay-offs in the drug trade — a well placed source informed the Sunday Guardian.”   The report stated that men owing drug lords are being lured into capturing humans, who will be sold for payment of their debts.   A source, pleading for anonymity for fear of his life, said victims were drugged almost immediately after capture and their cellphones switched off.

A Sunday Guardian investigation revealed that the lucrative human trafficking ring is operating in the Cascade/St Ann’s area, between Sangre Grande and Tunapuna, Diego Martin and in South.   Women have mysteriously disappeared from the Cascade area without a trace during the past year and “several straying young boys have vanished from the streets of San Fernando“.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery – Trinidad & Tobago", http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Trinidad&Tobago.htm, [accessed <date>]

 

 

Torture in  [Trinidad & Tobago]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Trinidad & Tobago]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Trinidad & Tobago]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Trinidad & Tobago]  [other countries]