IOM Builds Capacity to Combat Human Trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago - IOM yesterday (28/4) opened a two-day countering trafficking workshop for representatives of Trinidad and Tobago government agencies.  The training was organized in close partnership with the Division of Health and Social Services of the Tobago House of Assembly and the Counter Trafficking Unit of the Ministry of National Security.

According to the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, “Trinidad and Tobago is seen as a destination, transit, and possible source country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.”

Assemblyman Sheldon Cunningham, Assistant Secretary of Health and Social Services, opened the session with the grave reminder that human trafficking affects everyone. In his address, he encouraged participants to come together to reduce and eventually put an end to human trafficking.

IOM Head of Office in Port of Spain Jewel Ali noted that IOM remains committed to working with all local stakeholders in stemming trafficking in persons in the twin island state. “Everyone has a role to play and all roles are important,” she said.

Officials from the Division of Health and Social Services, Port Authority, Judiciary, Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport, Child Protection Unit and the Protective Services attended the workshop.

IOM has been working in Trinidad and Tobago for almost a decade and human trafficking is one of the thematic areas that remain a priority. IOM recently started a three-year US-funded counter trafficking project: “Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of Criminal Justice Actors in the Caribbean to Counter Trafficking in Persons Using a Victim-Centered Approach.”

The aim of this project is to increase the capacity of law enforcement in ensuring victim-centered investigations and prosecutions of TIP cases, while strengthening the capacities of all actors in the criminal justice system to utilize victim-centered methods to identify victims, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate TIP cases.

In March 2016, IOM facilitated sessions for Hilton Hotel Trinidad and Tobago and Prison Service and is planning more capacity building sessions in the coming months.

For further information, please contact Cherlez Philip at IOM Port of Spain, Tel:  +1868 623 2441, Email: