Barbados makes strides against human trafficking with recent arrests

(April 23, 2013)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Wednesday April 23, 2013 – The Barbados government says the recent arrest of two people involved in a human trafficking ring is proof that the island is making strides in addressing the issue.

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said the arrests and rescue five people between the ages of 17 and 21 were also a signal that the work of the committee established to deal with human trafficking was paying off.

“I was very happy to read the newspaper article,” he said, as he addressed the 27th Annual General Meeting of the Soroptimist International of Jamestown.

Amelia Allison Joseph, 36, and 22-year-old Keenon Tristan Chase were due to re-appear in court on Tuesday after  Magistrate Deborah Holder Monday brought to the proceedings to a halt after indicating she could not read all the charges against them.

Joseph was granted BDS$30, 000 (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents) while Chase was remanded to custody to appear in court on Tuesday.

Brathwaite, who is also Minister of Home Affairs, said that the arrests also showed that the police considered the issue serious enough to establish the Sex Crimes and Trafficking Unit, to handle such issues.

He said Barbadians were also becoming more aware of the issue.

“I am confident that our training is paying off. A few weeks ago, I received a call that there was a suspected case of trafficking of persons going through our shores. We investigated it and it proved not to have been,” he said.

“Unless we train police officers, immigration officers, landlords and ordinary men and women, which is what we did over the last year, many (people) would come into Barbados and be trafficked,” he cautioned.

Brathwaite said he wanted to see the continuation of efforts to eliminate human trafficking from the island’s shores.

Promising that he would continue to champion the fight against human trafficking, the Home Affairs minister stated there was no place for that type of behaviour in modern Barbados.

“In 2013 the ‘slave trade’ is probably more profitable than it was when slavery began. So that whether we may think of slavery as people who look like you and I being brought across from Africa on ships, what is happening today is just as bad if not worse.

“It is something as individuals and as a country we need to pay attention to,” he told the conference.

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