Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite says he is awaiting information on the sources used in a US report that suggests there is an issue of trafficking relating to children in Barbados.
Speaking during the opening of a Bureau of Gender Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade training workshop on Trafficking in Persons, Brathwaite noted that countries often had TIP reports but from time to time there were contentious areas.
“Barbados, we’ve had our various trafficking in persons reports and from time to time may or may not agree with the contents of that report be that as it may, one thing we have recognised is that if there are deficiencies in our ability to respond, then we have to address the deficiencies,” he said.
Asked by media after about these areas of contention, the AG responded: “I think for example the report mentioned Barbados in terms of children and forced labour and children being exploited for sex workers. We have not had any cases to my knowledge and it is an area that I as Attorney General would be very, very concerned about and I have asked the Royal Barbados Police Force, the authorities to have a look out.
“We are not as a Government interested in having a good report, we are not interested in covering up any cases, if there are in fact cases we will address them frontally… It is an area that when I saw it, I said that is not what I am hearing on the street, that is not to my knowledge.”
He said they had already considered approaching the US agency that would have prepared the report about some of the findings.
“We asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to engage US authorities to see what was the source of their information. If it in fact that the sources are credible and that we can then look and see if we have been missing things ourselves, that is for instance one of the things I have not had a report back on as well.”
He noted that monitoring was a continuous thing, adding that they were using immigration, police, the Bureau of Gender Affairs as well as organisations like the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados in their approach to the matter.
It was in keeping with earlier comments made by the legal head that what Barbados needed to do now was respond to areas of trafficking with “a more cohesive approach”.
He had noted that the training could help in cases where the victim of trafficking may have also broken laws, for example, immigration laws, noting there was still a responsibility to that person as a victim.
He said too that the town hall and other meetings they have been having on trafficking here would be reevaluated to see if the public was getting the message or if there was need for a new round of meetings and sensitisation. (LB)