TheTrafficking in Persons Reportlists Barbados as “a source and destination country for men, women, and children” who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.
It said foreign women were being forced into prostitution, while foreigners were subjected to forced labour, most notably in domestic service, agriculture, and construction.
“Legal and undocumented immigrants from Jamaica and Guyana are especially vulnerable to trafficking,” it said.
According to the report, children were being subjected to sex trafficking, including by parents and caregivers.
“The Government has never convicted a trafficker, but one 2013 prosecution remains awaiting trial for the second consecutive year. The Government continued drafting, but did not formally approve or implement for the second consecutive year, a national action plan establishing activities and priorities for 2016 through 2020, although the Government did use the national action plan to inform a two-year work plan, covering 2015-2016, which was implemented,” it said.
The Department of State recommended that Barbados enacts and implements a new anti-trafficking law “to prohibit all forms of human trafficking and prescribe penalties that are sufficiently stringent (without an alternative of a fine) and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape”.
It also recommended the investigation, prosecution and conviction of traffickers, “including complicit officials”, and the application of stringent sentences that deter future trafficking crimes.
It also called for training for officials from various departments and institutions and adequate funding to organizations that assist trafficking victims, among other recommendations.
The Trafficking in Persons Report is the US government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking, according to the Department of State, which places each country onto one of three tiers based on the extent of their governments’ efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.