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Aug 10, 2011

International Organization for Migration and the Labor Department’s workshop

Diana Shaw

A two-day workshop organized by the International Organization for Migration and the Labor Department got underway today. The aim of the seminar is to sensitize over fifteen labor officers on human trafficking, legal framework pertaining to trafficking, detection of traffickers and highlighting the importance of seeking help for trafficking victims.  Diana Shaw of the IOM highlights the relevance of the event.

Diana Shaw, Project Coordinator, Anti-trafficking Project for IOM

“Right now there are not complete statistics on trafficking in persons—many victims do not report. But the cases where they have had documentation of reported cases, it does show that the cases where intervention has happened, especially related to international cross trafficking refer to labor exploitation whereas the cases dealing with trafficking within the country, domestic trafficking, relates to trafficking for sexual purposes.”

Andrea Polanco

“Do we see a particular industry having a high number of these people who are trafficked across the region here in Belize?”

Diana Shaw

“People who are trafficked go to various places. There is widespread concern that for labor exploitation most of the persons who have been documented as potential victims are people who are in agricultural labor or other forms of manual labor where low skill labor is required and where persons may feel if they are not unionized or they are not properly documented, they can get a quick job.”

Andrea Polanco

“When it comes to prosecuting the traffickers, are we seeing maybe a higher number of successful prosecutions going through?”

Diana Shaw

“At the moment we don’t have a lot of prosecutions, but this is not unusual to Central America. Most of the countries in the Caribbean and in Central America don’t have a lot of prosecutions with trafficking. Trafficking cases are very complex and very technical. There are technical requirements regarding the means, the activity and exploitation that must be established for the crime of trafficking to be constituted and in many cases, victims are not willing to participate in the process. And without their involvement in many situations you cannot established that there was forcible removal or they were lured or deceived if they do not give that information.”

Andrea Polanco

“Quite a number of labor officers are participating in this workshop. What are some of their concerns that they are raising?”

Diana Shaw

Paulette Wagner

“The labor officers are raising a number of concerns. They are concerned that one; ensuring that they are able to properly enforce when they do investigations. If they don’t have all the elements of trafficking and they want to pursue a labor offence, the penalties are very low—it doesn’t act like a strong deterrence. And if the persons who have been victimized don’t really want to pursue criminal prosecutions, then some of the options are limited. So we are talking about them about ensuring that they understand that their responsibility is to do what they are to do to prosecute, to investigate. If the victim does not want to comply or participate, they can force the victim to participate but they still have to investigate as much as they are able to because they are other potential victims that that same employer may be targeting.”

Paulette Wagner, Deputy Labor Commissioner

“At the end of the day, we would want our labor officers to be comfortable when they do their investigations. That if they find any trafficking victims that the victims will be properly compensated both for labor violations as well as trafficking violations. That in the meeting we could identify a proper link with a traffic expert that we can relate our investigations to.”

The workshop continues on Thursday at the ITVET.

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4 Responses for “International Organization for Migration and the Labor Department’s workshop”

  1. Earl Grey says:


  2. Elgin Martinez says:

    when will Rhua’mah or what the heck her name is be extradited to Belize to face charges for trafficking our Belizean kids to the US?

  3. Elgin Martinez says:

    You people talking bs about compansating trafficked victims when you all still can’t ensure that Rhua,mah is extradited from the US to face trafficking charges.

  4. equal justice says:

    what about our local belize girls being pimped out by a parent, that is far more common than the 2 dozen girls that work at the Garden of Roses. that also constitutes human traficking but is hardly a source of focus. Belize was blacklisted by the US for precisely this area of human trafficking.

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