Bahamas Information Services Updates Law Enforcement Officials Complete Trafficking in Persons Seminar
By Lindsay Thompson
Feb 18, 2011 - 5:58:02 PM
Minister of National Security the Hon. Tommy Turnquest addressing the Organisation of American States seminar on the trafficking in persons, held February 15 – 16, 2011 at SuperClubs Breezes on Cable Beach.
(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
Nassau, The Bahamas – Personnel in law
enforcement and related areas completed a two-day training seminar on how to
fight the threat of human trafficking to and from The Bahamas and the region.
Coordinated by the Organisation of American
States, the seminar on ‘Strengthening Capacity of Law Enforcement Officials,
Judges and Prosecutors in the Caribbean to identify and Combat Trafficking in
Persons, Especially Women and Children’, was held at SuperClub Breezes on
February 15 - 16, 2011.
Minister of National Security the Hon. Tommy
Turnquest in his Keynote Address said that such seminars set the tone for the
extraordinary cooperation between regional and international governments in
what has been recognised as the fastest growing transnational criminal activity
in the world.
Participants were members of the Royal Bahamas
Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Immigration and Customs
department, the Office of the Attorney General and related agencies. The
seminar provided a forum for strengthening the capacity of law enforcement
officials and prosecutors in identifying and combating trafficking in persons,
especially women and children.
The government implemented the Trafficking in
Persons Prevention and Suppression Act in December 2008, which makes all forms
of trafficking of human beings illegal. Penalties range from three years to
“The government is committed to preventing,
detecting and successfully prosecuting this evil perpetrated on unsuspecting
women and children while in The Bahamas,” he said.
Because The Bahamas is an archipelago of islands
scattered over 100,000 square miles of water, he said policing its borders is a
Human Trafficking is defined by Article 3 (a) of
the United Nations Protocol as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer,
harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or other
forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power
or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or
benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person,
for the purpose of exploitation”.
Participants of the Organisation of American States seminar on the trafficking in persons, held February 15 – 16, 2011 at SuberClubs Breezes on Cable Beach.
(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
Although trafficking has existed for centuries,
it is said that the effects of globalisation have contributed to an environment
in which it makes human trafficking a highly profitable and generally low risk
“While there is little evidence of the same
here, regrettably there exists the potential of the participation of The
Bahamas,” Mr. Turnquest said.
Research has shown that human traffickers rarely
use direct force and abduction; most traffickers use subtle means of force and
deception. However, the situation becomes more complicated when victims
themselves become recruiters in trying to save themselves from further
“While trafficking of men, women and children
for forced labour and prostitution may not be an issue in The Bahamas
presently, The Bahamas takes the issue of human trafficking very seriously by
having implemented strategies to effectively address this scourge on humanity,”
Mr. Turnquest said.
Research also suggests that The Bahamas’ borders
make it an ideal target for the facilitation of human trafficking.
“However, for the most part, persons who find
themselves in The Bahamas illegally come voluntarily for mostly economic
purposes,” Mr. Turnquest said.
Meanwhile, The Bahamas encourages trafficked
victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions of persons culpable
The seminar was also addressed by Senator the
Hon. John Delaney, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs; Mrs. Juliet
Mallet Phillip, OAS Representative in The Bahamas; and Fernando Garcia-Robles,
Anti-TIP Coordinator, OAS.
Presenters from the region and the UK were: Ana Rodriquez, Peter Bryant,
Guillermo Galarza, Olga Gutierrez, Franklyn Williams, and Floy Turner.