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Dec 16, 2013

C.E.O. Judith Alpuche disagrees with some aspects of preliminary report

Judith Alpuche

The line Ministry for the issue of human trafficking is the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty. Its C.E.O., Judith Alpuche, says that the number of trafficked persons in Belize is small and disagrees with some of the information revealed by the UN Rapporteur. Alpuche identified victim care and services and says that because of the realities, there are no specialized centers that will have the bells and whistles like other countries. Alpuche, however, agrees that there is more smuggling than trafficking of persons.

 

Judith Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation & Poverty

“You heard a bit about our immigration policy and how we treat with our illegal migrants. And she said to me in our private meeting that that colored everything for her; that from the get go that’s seen as a problem. The fact that we criminalize people for entering illegally and we don’t have a separate detention center. So that is something that the government will need to look at in terms of making a policy decision on how we are going to treat with that. But it is a work in progress. It is something that we take very seriously and that is why we invited her to come because we want to be open and transparent and frank on this very important human rights issue and we want to open a dialogue where the experts can provide us with an overview and advice. In Belize what you are seeing is more human smuggling than human trafficking and it is very tenuous that line because as the rapporteur says, human trafficking is migration gone wrong. And indeed you have to watch it very carefully. But we are seeing more human smuggling than human trafficking. Like for instance if you take the data from the police like in 2011. The police did over a hundred interviews with people who maybe—because you are seeing bits and pieces. The specialized units in the police, the major crime unit did over a hundred interviews with people to determine whether or not they are victims of human trafficking. Out of that came maybe two cases or thereabouts. We’ve had fifteen cases of human trafficking that we’ve dealt with since 2006 if I recall properly. It is something that we are constantly working on detection. The numbers that we see are very low. We definitely have to do more in terms of public education. I think that most people now know about human trafficking because of the efforts that we have, but there is always room for improvement.”

 

According to the UN Rapporteur, the government should continue with its awareness campaign on Human Trafficking.

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1 Response for “C.E.O. Judith Alpuche disagrees with some aspects of preliminary report”

  1. ceo says:

    So if Ms Alpuche does not have the means to get stats. like other countries, how can you refute what was said?

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