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On the 30th of July 2020, I was pleased and honoured to be a panelist alongside other Chevening Scholars and distinguished UK and/or US anti-trafficking professionals, who made very informative and insightful presentations during an online webinar on Zoom to commemorate World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
Human trafficking is a very serious issue. It is a crime. It is a violation of an individual’s human rights. It is a form of modern-day slavery taking place all over our world today.
Human trafficking oftentimes occurs across multiple states or national borders. Therefore, its effects can be felt in nearly every country, whether that country is the country of origin, transit or destination.
Various international instruments have been created to address the issue of human trafficking in one way, shape, or form. Yet in 2020, human trafficking and issues related to it such as forced labour and sex trafficking, are still very prevalent and negatively affect the lives of many individuals.
Many of the perpetrators of human trafficking oftentimes prey on unsuspecting, weak, and/or vulnerable groups of people in society. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals may be more vulnerable to human trafficking as some persons may try to exploit them.
Small island states in the Caribbean are not immune to the issue of human trafficking. In fact, the Caribbean may be very vulnerable to issues surrounding human trafficking.
Many states, such as my very own, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), are making some domestic efforts to try to tackle the issue of human trafficking. For example, SVG has the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2011, and the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force has an Anti-Trafficking Unit.
I commend the steps that have been taken in SVG so far, yet there is always more that can be done in my country, the Caribbean region and the world as a whole, in order to help address the very serious issues surrounding human trafficking.
Human trafficking is terrible. It needs to end. We need to stop it. States, law enforcement and immigration authorities, organizations and other elements of civil society, etc., all of us need to work together to help end human trafficking.
If we haven’t already started, let us work together in whatever way possible, to help to end human trafficking. Thank you kindly for your time.
Author: Jeshua Bardoo is a 2012 Vincentian National Exhibition Scholar and a 2019/20 Chevening Scholar studying an LLM International Human Rights Law at Brunel University London. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.