Government recruits human trafficking special adviser from US

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Government recruits human trafficking special adviser from US

With the issue of human trafficking being raised in recent days, government has decided to recruit a special adviser of the US government.

National Security Minister, FItzgerald Hinds said the adviser will be coming to Trinidad and Tobago by the end of March to assist with bringing human traffickers to justice.

He made the announcement while addressing citizens in Barataria at a PNM political meeting on Thursday.

Hinds said: “We have negotiated that they send a special adviser to us on the business of human trafficking to work closely with our counter trafficking units and our working groups to assist us in meeting the standard of their laws to bring about more convictions in the court.”

He said that despite T&T’s rating in human trafficking, the government has been doing a lot of work in dealing with the threat, including amending acts to fast track cases in the court dealing with human trafficking, close work to carry out police exercises and raids dealing with human trafficking, and the hiring of more judges to treat with criminal cases.

“We comply, we work and we try to satisfy the standards,” he said. “We are on the job, fighting the good fight.”

He said there are currently eight matters in the high court on indictment, another eight matters completed in magistrates courts waiting on indictments, 54 preliminary inquiries taking place in magistrates courts resulting from police arrests.

He said several officials have been charged for human trafficking including police, soldiers and other officers in the protective services. He said between 2018 and 2022, 42 human trafficking offences involving 50 people were prosecuted. There were 105 offences altogether including human trafficking, sexual offences, offences in the Children’s Act and labour offences.

A US Department of State report in 2022 said that compliance from officials in public office has negatively affected T&T’s ability to prosecute and convict human traffickers.

T&T is currently on the tier 2 watch list for human trafficking.