By Theresa Blackman
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite wants “some evidence” to back up the claims of sex trafficking and forced labour taking place here in Barbados.
He said based on the US Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report listing, “a lot of our cultural practices and norms have been misinterpreted”.
The Minister made these comments on Wednesday afternoon at the conclusion of a two-day workshop on a draft five-year strategic action plan to counter human trafficking on the island.
He was referring to aspects of the report which cites Barbados as a destination for men, women and children who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. Mr. Brathwaite disclosed that he would soon be leading a National Task Force that will conduct an in the field probe of the matter.
The Attorney General, who is also Minister of Home Affairs, pointed out that there was a need for officers from the Royal Barbados Police Force and Immigration Department to be more proactive.
He explained this was necessary “so that when we hear stories in the communities and when we go in the international community, we can say with certainty that this is not what actually happens in Barbados… rather here is what happens based on our own analysis, but moreover based on the fact that we have gone out into the community ourselves and we have a good sense of what is happening.”
Mr. Brathwaite also said that everything must be done to ensure that the State Department removes Barbados from Tier Two in the trafficking of persons ranking this year, to Tier One next year.
“Once we have that done and once we have the legislation in place, then I think our report next year shall look completely different…but notwithstanding, I think we have done well,” he said.