DE RUEHWN #0386/01 0602043
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 012043Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2010
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 BRIDGETOWN 000386
DEPT FOR G/TIP AND WHA/CAR
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KCRM ELAB KFRD ASEC KWMN PHUM PREF SMIG BB XL SUBJECT: TIP SUBMISSION - BARBADOS
REF: STATE 3836
1. (U) As requested in reftel, below are Post's responses to questions regarding Barbados for the annual Trafficking in Persons Report.
Paragraph 21 - Overview
-- A) Is the country a country of origin, transit, or destination for internationally trafficked men, women, or children? Evidence suggests that Barbados is a destination for trafficking, and may be a source and transit country for trafficking as well. The country has a growing sex tourism industry with a number of strip clubs and brothels, many of which are staffed by women from the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean islands. There have been anecdotal reports that women have been trafficked internationally and minors have been trafficked internally to work in the sex industry.
-- B) Please provide a general overview of the trafficking situation in the country and any changes since the last TIP Report. In June 2005, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) released its Exploratory Assessment of Trafficking in Persons in the Caribbean Region, identifying Barbados as one of several countries in the region to which people were trafficked. The IOM report suggested that persons were primarily trafficked to Barbados to be commercial sex workers and domestic workers, but showed evidence to support that persons are being trafficked to work in the booming construction industry as well. The report criticized the government for deporting illegal migrants and laborers without investigating whether or not they were victims of trafficking. In November, the government deported 14 individuals who had been trafficked to Barbados from India. According to press reports, the unskilled laborers said they arrived in Barbados in October to work for Larsen and Toubro Limited, an India-based construction company with a high-profile contract to redevelop the Barbados national cricket stadium in preparation for Cricket World Cup 2007. The migrants claimed they paid an employment agency in New Delhi US$4,500 each to get them the jobs and provide all necessary legal documents including passports, visas, and work permits. They stated that Larson and Toubro Limited supplied their airline tickets and that two individuals involved with the construction project facilitated their clearance through Barbados Immigration. These same individuals took the migrants' passports, claiming work permits had been acquired when in fact they had not. The workers walked off the job in November to protest their low pay (approximately US$5 per day), poor living conditions, and the inadequate food provided by their employer. They were deported several days later amid a flurry of news reports and criticism of the government from the Barbados Workers Union and private attorneys for punishing the victims and not those who trafficked them. In a February 22 newspaper report, a spokesman related to the construction project, which will be bringing in 37 artisans and skilled laborers from India over the next month, made excuses for the actions of Larson and Toubro Limited, justifying the debt bondage of the original laborers. An investigation is currently underway, but prosecution will be difficult in the absence of testimony from the deported victims. (Note: Recent news reports confirm that a civil and criminal lawsuit claiming US$2 million in compensation for the deported 14 will be filed in the high courts by mid-March. End Note.)
-- C) What are the limitations on the government's ability to address this problem in practice? The government has very limited resources with which to address trafficking. Understaffed law enforcement agencies have no training in exploring the links between illegal prostitution and potential trafficking. The legal system is equally strapped with a huge caseload and not enough prosecutors to handle the backlog.
-- D) To what extent does the government systematically monitor its anti-trafficking efforts? The government has no system to monitor anti-trafficking efforts. Officials monitor illegal immigration, but are still in the beginning stages of addressing trafficking issues in Barbados.
Paragraph 22 ) Prevention
BRIDGETOWN 00000386 002 OF 004
-- A) Does the government acknowledge that trafficking is a problem? The highly publicized plight of the 14 Indian laborers has brought the issue of trafficking to the forefront and government is beginning to acknowledge that a limited amount of trafficking may be occurring.
-- B) Which government agencies are involved in anti-trafficking efforts? The Office of Gender Affairs in the Ministry of Social Transformation has been the lead contact for IOM anti-trafficking seminars and training.
-- C) Are there or have there been government-run anti-trafficking information or education campaigns? Yes. In fall of 2005, the Business and Professional Women's Association, an NGO affiliated with the Bureau of Gender Affairs, conducted three education/sensitization sessions to assess awareness and understanding of trafficking in Barbados.
-- D) Does the government support other programs to prevent trafficking? No.
-- E) Is the government able to support prevention programs? No, the government does not have the resources to carry out programs other than the training mentioned above and basic law enforcement efforts.
-- F) What is the relationship between the government, NGOs, and civil society on the trafficking issue? NGOs and civil society are involved with the government in the Barbadian Coalition, a group of 15 governmental and non-governmental organizations committed to combating trafficking in persons, which received a small grant from IOM to conduct a campaign to raise community awareness and understanding of the nature and dynamics of trafficking.
-- G) Does it monitor immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking? Do law enforcement agencies screen for potential trafficking victims along borders? No.
-- H) Is there a mechanism for coordination and communication between various agencies, internal, international, and multilateral on trafficking related matters, such as a multi-agency working group or a task force? The Barbadian Coalition is the only mechanism for communicating between agencies at this time. It is still developing programs to educate and sensitize key players, such as law enforcement and vulnerable communities, who are not necessarily party to the Coalition.
-- I) Does the government participate in multinational or international working groups to combat trafficking? Yes. Government representatives have received trafficking related training from IOM.
-- J) Does the government have a national plan of action to address trafficking? No.
Paragraph 23 - Investigations and Prosecution of Traffickers
-- A) Does the country have a law specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons-*both trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for non-sexual purposes? No, traffickers could potentially be charged with labor violations, immigration violations, or violations of the laws against pimping and pandering. There have been no trafficking cases prosecuted. Current laws are inadequate to cover the full scope of trafficking in persons.
-- B) What are the penalties for traffickers of people for sexual or labor exploitation? There are no specific penalties for traffickers of people for sexual or labor exploitation. They could, however, face penalties for immigration or labor violations that include criminal sanctions.
-- C) What are the penalties for rape and sexual assault? The penalty for rape is up to life imprisonment. The penalty for sexual assault is up to five years in prison.
-- D) Is prostitution legalized or decriminalized? No, prostitution and pimping are illegal.
-- E) Has the government prosecuted any cases against traffickers? No.
-- F) Is there any information or reports of who is behind the trafficking? In the case of the 14 Indian laborers, the
BRIDGETOWN 00000386 003 OF 004
government knows the companies involved and is reportedly investigating. However, while the government was embarrassed regionally by the incident, it also has a vested interest in maintaining the pace of construction, already behind schedule for the March 2007 Cricket World Cup events. Thus, it is unlikely that any substantive investigation or legal action will be launched until the construction project is finished.
-- G) Does the government actively investigate cases of trafficking? Officials are investigating the high-profile case mentioned above; however, education on trafficking is still in the beginning stages, so reports of trafficking are very limited.
-- H) Does the government provide any specialized training for government officials in how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute instances of trafficking? No.
-- I) Does the government cooperate with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases? No such cases have arisen.
-- J) Does the government extradite persons who are charged with trafficking in other countries? No such cases have been reported.
-- K) Is there evidence of government involvement in or tolerance of trafficking, on a local or institutional level? There were two isolated anecdotal cases reported, one involving an Immigration official who apparently allowed illegal Guyanese laborers in the country as long as they worked on his house for free on the weekends, and another of a police officer who brought in young women to work as prostitutes, keeping their passports as collateral.
-- L) If government officials are involved in trafficking, what steps has the government taken to end such participation? The police officer was dismissed and the Immigration official is under investigation under the Corrupt Practices Act.
-- M) If the country has an identified child sex tourism problem, how many foreign pedophiles has the government prosecuted? While it is believed that minors may be engaging in prostitution, there is no evidence of child sex tourism.
-- N) Has the government signed, ratified and/or taken steps to implement the following international instruments:
a) ILO Convention 182 on worst forms of child labor. Ratified.
b) ILO Convention 29 and 105 on forced or compulsory labor. Ratified.
c) Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Children. Did not sign or ratify.
d) The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. Signed.
Paragraph 24 - Protection and Assistance to Victims
-- A) Does the government assist victims? The government has no facilities to assist victims. As the case of the 14 Indian laborers shows, victims are normally deported for immigration violations.
-- B) Does the government provide funding or other forms of support to foreign and domestic NGOs for services to victims? No.
-- C) Is there a screening and referral process in place? No.
-- D) Are the rights of victims respected, or are victims also treated as criminals? Victims are treated as criminals and deported.
-- E) Does the government encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking? No, but the high-profile coverage of the 14 Indian laborers' case may change that.
-- F) What kind of protection is the government able to provide for victims and witnesses? The government has a
BRIDGETOWN 00000386 004 OF 004
shelter for victims of domestic violence that could potentially be used to protect victims of trafficking. The victim or witness could also be detained for their own protection.
-- G) Does the government provide any specialized training for government officials in recognizing trafficking? No, the government does not provide training. IOM began conducting seminars and training in 2004 that were attended by government officials from a variety of social welfare and law enforcement agencies.
-- H) Does the government provide assistance to its repatriated nationals who are victims of trafficking? There has only been one anecdotal case of a Barbados national being trafficked to work in the tourism industry in Colorado. It has not been determined if this was an actual trafficking case, and the individual's family financed the repatriation.
-- I) Which international organizations or NGOs, if any, work with trafficking victims? IOM is working in Barbados with the Bureau of Gender Affairs and the Business and Professional Women's Association to educate the public on trafficking in persons. KRAMER