In the U.S. Trafficking in Person (TIP) Report 2017, released here recently by the U.S. Department of State, the new administration under President Donald Trump ripped most CARICOM countries for not doing enough in bringing themselves in compliance with combating trafficking in persons.
Though Belize – placed on Tier 3 – was the only CARICOM member-state whose government did not fully comply with the minimum standards for trafficking in persons and are not making significant efforts to do so, other regional countries were placed on the U.S.’ Tier 2 Watch List, and Tier 2 and Tier 1 lists.
The State Department placed Antigua and Barbuda, Haiti and Suriname in Tier 2 because their governments “do not fully comply with the TVPA’s (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards, and the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing.”
Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards are placed on Tier 2. The State Department placed Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago in that category.
The Bahamas and Guyana showed marked improvement in trafficking in persons, according to the State Department. Both are in Tier 1.
The State Department said Antigua and Barbuda demonstrated significant efforts during the reporting period by initiating the prosecution of a trafficking case, revising its national action plan, training relevant government personnel, increasing funding for anti-trafficking efforts and providing some assistance to victims.
In making “key achievements during the reporting period,” Haiti was upgraded to Tier 2.
Since Suriname made “significant efforts” in meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, the report said the country was also upgraded to Tier 2.
But despite making significant efforts in meeting the minimum standards for eliminating trafficking in persons, Barbados remained on Tier 2.
Jamaica’s government “demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period.” But the State Department bemoaned that Jamaica failed to “hold complicit officials accountable, and did not publish a standard victim protection protocol, or publish an annual report monitoring its efforts.”
St. Lucia also demonstrated “increasing efforts,” but the report said the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.
Like its Tier 2 counterparts, St. Vincent and the Grenadines “demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period,” warranting an upgrade to that tier.
The State Department noted that the government of Trinidad and Tobago also showed “increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period” by adopting and beginning to implement a new national action plan for 2016-2020.