Every year, July 30 commemorates the “World Day against Trafficking in Persons” as a stark reminder of the need to protect persons at-risk of being trafficked, support survivors, and prosecute perpetrators. It is also an opportunity to highlight the rights of victims and raise awareness of this heinous crime described as modern-day slavery. According to the recently published United States Trafficking in Persons Report, in 2021 there were 90,354 trafficking victims identified globally, 10,572 prosecutions occurred resulting in 5,260 convictions globally.
The theme for this year’s observance is “Use and abuse of technology” and reminds us, while technology can enable human trafficking, it can also be a critical tool in fighting it. The Caribbean is increasingly used as a source, destination, or transit route for trafficking people, including young women and children. Governments are actively engaging in counter-trafficking efforts given the rising number of cases in the region. In support of these governmental efforts, three international organizations have launched a new initiative to further partner with the region in addressing this scourge. These are the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Through this new program, USAID is contributing over US$3.5 million in funding and technical support, while leveraging the technical expertise, experience, and resources from IOM and UNDP to support counter-trafficking efforts in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.
USAID Regional Representative Clinton White said the alliance is consistent with the agency’s approach to ensuring development effectiveness. “It leverages the best of each partner’s abilities and maximizes resources while promoting synergies.” White notes “that partnership is an integral part of any effort to effectively addressing human trafficking.”
The global pandemic has increased vulnerabilities and crime trends. “Through interventions, strategic partnerships, and targeted projects and programs, UNDP continues to advance inclusive and sustainable development to build resilient communities that can withstand shocks and crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic,” said UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Resident Representative Limya Eltayeb. She described the CariSECURE partnership between UNDP and USAID as making a dent on TIP for the past two years.
The CariSECURE 1.0 project focused on helping to improve prosecution through more diligent TIP detection and investigation. It also aims to heighten public awareness and sensitization about human trafficking as a prevention strategy. This initiative will be expanded in the coming years to a number of Caribbean countries, including through the new CariSECURE 2.0 project.
As one of the largest anti-trafficking organizations in the world, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has been working to prevent and counter trafficking in persons since 1994. IOM’s expertise and experience in protection, support, and assistance to trafficking survivors made the organization an ideal partner for USAID to implement its Heal, Empower, Rise – Counter Trafficking in Persons (HER CTIP) project. The project aims to improve survivors’ access to timely and quality support services that facilitates healing and empowerment while helping survivors live meaningful and productive lives. The IOM Trinidad and Tobago Country Director Jewel Ali explained, “The project will reinforce the results of previous and current interventions implemented by the IOM TT. This effort will redound to the benefit of the victims of trafficking by helping them become more resilient and facilitating their successful (re)integration into society.”
USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean, IOM Trinidad and Tobago, UNDP Barbados, and the Eastern Caribbean stand in solidarity with its national and regional partners, and these organizations are committed to helping prevent, protect, and prosecute human trafficking in the region. Today, these organizations commend the bravery and resilience of trafficking survivors and urge Caribbean people to follow the mantra: “If you see something, say something.” This will help law enforcement apprehend perpetrators and combat human trafficking.
For more information about:
USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean CTIP programs, contact
UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean CariSECURE 1.0 and 2.0 projects, contact
IOM Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago – HER CTIP Project, contact