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Mar 23, 2010

GOB doesn’t meet minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking

Judith Alpuche

Judith Alpuche

Human trafficking is the trade or commerce of people, a practice which is illegal in most countries and has been likened to a form of modern day slavery.  The most common form in Belize is the internal sex trafficking of minors. And according to the 2009 Human Trafficking Report of the US State Department, the government is not fully compling with the minimum standards to eliminate this scourge. The report acknowledged some gains but in its evaluation it says GOB did not show efforts of progress in convictions. The report recommended an increase in efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders, including any allegedly complicit public officials; increase law enforcement efforts against forced labor; continue to improve victim services and assistance; and increase penalties for sex trafficking crimes so they are commensurate with penalties for other grave crimes.  To this end, a two day seminar organized by the Government of Belize and the OAS, ended today at the Belize Biltmore.  News Five spoke with Judith Alpuche, CEO in the Ministry of Human Development who said forty-five persons attended.

Judith Alpuche, CEO, Ministry of Human Development

“It targets really the judiciary and law enforcement on a whole and the purpose of the training is to assist in strengthening our capacity to be able to successfully investigate and convict people on human trafficking cases. So here at this session we have around forty-five participants and it’s really the entire gamut of stakeholders in this because human trafficking being such a complex issue, there are not only the traditional law enforcement entities are involved but other allied entities.  So here we have magistrates here, police prosecution branch, major crimes unit from the police, Immigration Department, Labor Department, representatives from the Financial Intelligence Unit, prosecutors from the DPP’s office as well as social services and NGOs.  And those are the major players that really assist in investigation, prosecutions and convictions because along with your traditional crime, if you want to put in that way, where there is a lot of emphasis on the perpetrator there is a lot of emphasis on the victims.”

According to Alpuche there is a lot more to be done by various entities in assisting the thirty-three known victims in the country.  After Belize, the training will be conducted in several English-speaking Caribbean countries in conjunction with the Organization of American States.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “GOB doesn’t meet minimum standards to eliminate human trafficking”

  1. roygel says:

    Belize is behind time in everything,minister and people in authority,stop pocketing the money and start putting things in place.The world is modernizing,but Belize isn’t.

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