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May 4, 2012

Finding victims of Human Trafficking

Diana Shaw

While the business of finding manatees can be quite a difficult task, also equally daunting is finding victims of human trafficking. The rate of convictions for the crimes of human trafficking in Belize remains fairly minimal despite an increase in the number of offenses.  On March twenty-seventh, Guatemalan national Jose Alfaro was arraigned on two counts of attempted human trafficking after trying to coerce a minor into working for him as a prostitute.  Alfaro is only one of two persons who has been successfully sentenced for commission of such crimes.  On Thurs-day, members of the judiciary commenced a two-day workshop where they were taught by representatives of the International Organization for Migration about human trafficking.  The organization’s national program coordinator in Belize is Diana Shaw.

 

Diana Shaw, National Program Coordinator, IOM

“Well this is an important part of the project.  It is a two-year project and the project is aimed at strengthening the capacity and strengthening the national response which currently is being headed by the ATIPs committee, the Anti-Trafficking In Persons committee. A key component of that is looking at the prosecutorial response looking at both the investigative arm and the adjudicating arm of trafficking in persons crimes.  We have done a number of trainings, specialized trainings with the police.  Last year we did trainings with labor officials, immigration, customs, social workers, foreign affairs, councilors and now we are also now coming to do the colloquium with the judges, and we will be doing anothertraining with the magistrates later on this.  But this important sensitization aims specifically at the Supreme Court judges because as you heard earlier from the Deputy Solicitor General Ms. Michelle Daly, the law will be revised to put the jurisdiction for trafficking crimes within the auspices of the Supreme Court.  So this is an opportunity to come together and discuss what is happening in Belize, how it will impact the work that they are doing and the role of the judiciary in eradicating human trafficking.”

 

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