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Jan 25, 2018

We Will Do Our Best on Trafficking in Persons, Says A.G. after Ban

For the next year, Belize has been placed on a list of nations whose nationals are not eligible to obtain temporary U.S. work visas of the H-Two-A and H-Two-B non-immigrant status. It means Belizeans cannot work in agriculture or service industries, as nearly three hundred did last year. The move has been suggested as a result of Belize not doing enough to leave tier three of the U.S. State Department’s rankings in the 2017 Trafficking in Persons report. But the government maintains that it has made some improvement in terms of judicial handling and investigation of alleged trafficking in persons, creating a network linking police to the courts and the Attorney General’s Ministry and training both security forces and the public through education campaigns. Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte admitted on Wednesday to being mystified as to the reasoning from Washington, and would not make a connection to Belize’s recent vote in favor of the Palestinian people at the United Nations in December against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But the top legal eagle says Belize will continue to do what it can to reverse the issue.

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“To worry about or analyze what the U.S. does or doesn’t do is like worrying about the rain: you don’t control it and there is no explanation for it. We are not going to be drawn into any extensive explanation about something that they themselves did not explain: they didn’t go into any great detail as to why we were put on that list, so we are not on the list; they are not going to grant the visas that they granted to Belizeans last year. And they say it’s because of human trafficking, but that’s all they said. They gave no detail; they gave no explanation as to what aspect of human trafficking they are talking about.  All we can do is to do our best. But then again, with these rankings and with the U.S. sometimes you are in a catch-twenty-two: we could try to explain to them that we are not prosecuting a lot of people for human trafficking, because human trafficking doesn’t happen here. But when you do that, they say you’re not prosecuting enough. If we were to prosecute a lot, they’re gonna say, ‘See, you have human trafficking; that’s why you have to prosecute.’ So you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t; so all we do is our best to stamp out all forms of crime. Human trafficking is a crime, and it will be dealt with like how we deal with all crimes.”

 

Reporter

“Could the U.S.A.’s decision be as a result of the government’s vote at the U.N.?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“I don’t know. Like I said, I won’t presume to know why they did what they did; they gave no explanation for what they did, they just said human trafficking. So if you follow their reasoning it’s no, but you never know, because we don’t know.”

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1 Response for “We Will Do Our Best on Trafficking in Persons, Says A.G. after Ban”

  1. Marwaione says:

    Plain the US is saying your laws of any type are not strong enough and you refuse to get convictions when it is in your face. STOP fooling the people that don’t understand.

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