Nov 12, 2014








·       Senator, the Honorable Mark Golding, Minister of Justice;

·       Chargé d' Affaires, Mrs. Elizabeth Martinez

·       Ms. Keisha Livermore, IOM Kingston’s Head of Office;

·       Participants from Jamaica, Bahamas, Barbados and St. Lucia;

·       Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen;

·       A very good morning to all of you!


I am very pleased to be here with you at the 2nd Cooperation Workshop on Strengthening Institutional Mechanisms to Support Criminal Justice & Assistance to Victims of Human Trafficking – a very serious and a rapidly expanding global phenomenon.  Trafficking in persons is a money-spinning industry; research shows that globally it is not only the fastest growing criminal industry, it is tied with the illegal arms trade as the second largest illegal industry behind the drugs trade.


The Caribbean region has one of the highest rates of migration in relation to its population and it is especially vulnerable to human trafficking.  The migration flows in the Caribbean are classified under internal migration, intra-regional and outward migration.  And, they have influenced the diversity of the region, both culturally and in terms of economic and human development. Human trafficking is one of the most significant influential factors affecting these migration flows besides increasing inequalities and tourism.  Irregular migration flows including smuggling and trafficking-in-persons present urgent and serious challenges to governments, as the consequences are devastating for the affected individuals and the society as a whole.  The United Nations welcomes the effort of the four Caribbean countries, viz; Barbados, Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia to meet and to discuss a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation to Countering Trafficking in Persons in the region.


Since the 2005 IOM/OAS Report on Exploratory Assessment of Trafficking in Persons in the Caribbean Region, the countries in the Region including all of your countries – have been undertaking numerous efforts in putting in place legislation, capacity development and institutional strengthening to eliminate human trafficking and all related forms of modern slavery - one of the ugliest phenomenon of organized crime in our world, viz.,  And it also made us aware that to combat this rising crime, it is necessary to not only go beyond the countries of origin, transit and destination, it is also vital to address more than just the recruiters, transporters, exploiters, clients and beneficiaries.  It requires coordination at the inter-institutional and multi-dimensional levels, taking into account the prevention, prosecution of criminals, and the protection of victims.


The human tragedy around trafficking in persons is also the breach of fundamental international human rights norms; and the criminal content of acts of trafficking requires that governments adopt “a comprehensive international approach in the countries of origin, transit and destination that includes measure to (i) prevent such trafficking (ii) punish the traffickers and (iii) protect the victims of such trafficking, including by protecting their internationally recognized human rights”[1].  The Recommended Principles on Human Rights and Human Trafficking state “Violations of human rights are both a cause and a consequence of trafficking in persons.  Accordingly, it is essential to place the protection of all human rights at the center of any measures taken to prevent and end trafficking. Anti-trafficking measures should not adversely affect the human rights and dignity of persons and, in particular, the rights of those who have been trafficked, migrants, internally displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers.” 


The dimension of force, coercion and deception that accompany human trafficking characterize exploitation.  A failure to investigate such acts and liberate the trafficked persons results in denial of their human dignity and rights. Accordingly, the United Nations has developed a comprehensive international legal framework as well as monitoring mechanisms to prevent, eliminate and punish human trafficking.  These include the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, the Convention on the Rights of  Migrant Workers, several ILO Conventions [2], the various General Assembly Resolutions including the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, adopted on 30 July 2010 to urge Governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measure to try to defeat the scourge.


The Human Rights Council has also appointed a Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially in Women and Children.  The Special Rapporteur undertakes country visits to better comprehend situation in the countries and provide actionable recommendations to prevent/combat trafficking and protect human rights of its victims.  Such services are available to all the countries that are keen to combat this terrible crime; they can definitely benefit from the expertise and advise of the Special Rapporteur including learning from the good practices and success stories of countries worldwide. The Special Rapporteur had visited Bahamas in December 2013 and provided in her report coherent recommendations to the Government.[3]


Despite the establishment of an international legal framework, monitoring mechanisms and the enactment of domestic legislations in line with the above instruments, regrettably and as highlighted in the recent (June 2014) Trafficking in Persons Report published by the U.S. State Department, Human Trafficking remains a serious problem and that much more still needs to be done.[4]


The present event therefore is of utmost importance and I congratulate International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the participants for their effort and commitment.  I would also like to commend IOM on the excellent support provided to the Caribbean countries to better understand the scope and nature of trafficking in persons within their own countries and the region while strengthening the capacities of the governments and communities to respond to this issue.


On behalf of the United Nations (Jamaica, Bahamas, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos and Cayman Islands) I would like to underscore the UN’s commitment to provide the Governments with technical expertise as well as practical tools to comply with the standards for the elimination of trafficking.  In particular, we will assist with the inclusion of a human rights based approach in the identification and implementation of victim protection principles and with the identification and prosecution of forced labor cases through ongoing law enforcement training and sensitization of government officials.


The UN is also committed to assist the Caribbean Region with research and awareness-raising: UNODC has the mandate and duty to collect data and report biennially on trafficking in persons patterns and flows at the national, regional and international levels.  Its 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons will be released on 24 November 2014.  Additionally, we also plan to partner with the Governments to conduct baseline studies on the scope and trends of trafficking at the national level.

Your presence at this workshop is sending a clear message to the entire Latin America and the Caribbean Region, viz., that the Caribbean countries will not tolerate this terrible crime and will work together through robust mechanisms to protect the victims of trafficking and bring the perpetrators to justice.

I wish you a fruitful workshop.

Thank you.

[1] Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000

[2] ILO Conventions No. 29 and No. 105 on Forced or Compulsory Labour, ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Form of Child Labour and ILO Convention No. 143 on Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers

[3] An visit request was submitted by the Special Rapporteur to the Government of Jamaica in 2011

[4] Bahamas, Barbados and St. Lucia were placed on Tier 2 while Jamaica on Tier Two Watch List.

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