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Jun 22, 2012

Human Trafficking Report indicates Belize needs to do more

It is estimated that as many as twenty-seven million people around the world are victims of human trafficking. That is the driving force behind the US Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report, which looks at the scope of what is considered modern day slavery and the actions that governments worldwide are taking to confront and eliminate it. The 2012 report was released on Thursday; with countries ranked from tier one to three; one being the best. While twenty-nine countries were upgraded this year, Belize remains at tier two, which indicates that the government does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but it is making significant efforts to do so. According to the report, Belize is a source, destination, and transit country for victims of trafficking and forced labor. Coerced prostitution is listed as one of the country’s common forms of trafficking and it often involves parents encouraging children to provide sexual favors to men in exchange for money and gifts. Child sex tourism is another growing problem and the main offenders are said to be U.S. visitors. Central American women and girls are also victimized in Belize, often in bars, nightclubs, and brothels. In the country narrative, the report looks at the three P’s of fighting trafficking in persons; Prosecution, Prevention and Protection; all areas in which Belize has made progress. With regards to prosecution, it is noted that penalties for human trafficking offences range from one to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to five thousand dollars, which are good, but could stand to be more stringent. Draft legislation announced in 2011, can lead to significant improvements, but it has not been enacted. In the area of protection, it is reported that government spent approximately a hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars in 2011 on services for trafficking victims; including shelter, health care, counseling, stipends, case management, and reintegration services. As for prevention, the government continued to coordinate programs through an anti-trafficking committee, which is made up of thirteen agencies and NGOs.

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1 Response for “Human Trafficking Report indicates Belize needs to do more”

  1. Storm says:

    It would be nice if someone can figure out a nationwide anti-trafficking campaign, and encourage people to report suspicions to — where? I’m sure there are trafficking victims in the Jewel right this minute, and equally sure some neighbours are aware there is something wrong occurring. Make a call, save a life.

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