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Dec 16, 2013

United Nation looks at human trafficking, but there is more cases of human smuggling

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo

The United Nations is looking at human trafficking Belize but that study reveals that there are far more cases of human smuggling of nationals from Central and South America and as far as Asia. Belize is considered a country of destination, transit and origin. At the invitation of the government, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the United Nation Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, conducted the study. While a full report will be provided in June of 2014, the preliminary findings were revealed today at a press conference at the Radisson. There are some positives but Ezeilo says that there are several concerns including data collection, rampant and indiscriminate acts against trafficked persons as well as corruption within the police and immigration departments.


Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, U.N. Special Rapporteur

“The fluidity of Belizean borders with Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico makes it attractive for migrant smuggling and human trafficking; especially migrants heading to the United States of America—not only from Central and South America, but also from Asia.  The political commitment to end human trafficking clearly exists in Belize, but notwithstanding there are a number of concerns that I have. The first concern is the capacity and willingness to identify trafficked persons and potential victims of trafficking especially those in mixed migration situations.  Reliable statistical data remains unavailable. I was not provided with consistent figures by different government agencies with regard to the number of cases prosecuted and number of victims rescued. And this underlines a problem of data collection which is paramount to determine the skill, or the scope or magnitude of the problem of trafficking. More worrisome is the rampant and indiscriminate criminalization of irregular migrants for illegal entry into Belize which contributes to driving the phenomenon of human trafficking further underground as the routine practices of immigration officers is to strictly apply the immigration law, prosecute and convict and/or fine immigrants even before giving them an opportunity to tell their stories or get identified as trafficked persons or potential victims of trafficking. I met irregular migrants who after solving out their various terms for illegally entering the country and still kept imprisoned indefinitely. The practice of criminalization of international migrants is against international human rights standards and practices especially giving the human conditions of detention and access of basic assistance including for establishing contact with their families, embassies and lawyers.”

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1 Response for “United Nation looks at human trafficking, but there is more cases of human smuggling”

  1. ceo says:

    Most Belizeans will find these findings of corruption hard to believe; right? There seems to be a dam crook or two in every government office!

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