IOM Trains Labor Inspectors in Trinidad and Tobago to Detect Potential Victims of Human Trafficking

Trinidad and Tobago - IOM, in cooperation with Trinidad and Tobago’s Counter Trafficking Unit and the Ministry of Labor and Small and Micro Enterprise Development (MLSMED), is hosting a two-day counter trafficking workshop for labor inspectors ending today in the capital Port of Spain.

The event also targets other key ministry personnel, who as possible first responders, need to know the basic concepts of human trafficking, how to identify it and how respond.

The workshop: “Human Trafficking is a Serious Crime, Identify it, Report it, Stop it” attracted 25 participants to discuss the national and international legal frameworks of trafficking in persons; migratory flows (regular and irregular) in the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago; key findings of trafficking in persons research in Trinidad and Tobago; and the role of the MLSMED in the response to human trafficking.

According to research conducted by the ACP Observatory on Migration’s:  Invisible Immigrants: A Profile of Irregular Migration, Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons in Trinidad and Tobago, human trafficking is driven by demand for sex workers; poor enforcement of existing laws; and poor public sensitization and awareness.

According to the Ministry of National Security, there were 36 suspected cases of trafficked persons in Trinidad and Tobago between June 2009 and August 2012. Most of the victims were from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

The most cited recruitment methods were false promises, personal contacts and deception. Victims, most of whom were women aged between 15-36, were often conned into coming to Trinidad and Tobago with the lure of employment. Human traffickers used both regular and irregular means to transport their victims, who were exposed to a range of exploitation, including psychological, sexual and physical abuse.

In some cases the most basic human rights of victims, such as freedom of movement, food and water, were denied.  They were also forced to work for long hours in unsafe circumstances.  Some traffickers also withheld victims’ travel documents and threatened to report them to the police because of their irregular status.

The ACP Observatory on Migration produces and collects data on South-South migration in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries.  It is an initiative of the ACP Secretariat, funded by the European Union and implemented by IOM. It is supported by the IOM Development Fund, UNFPA and Switzerland.

For more information, please contact

Jewel Ali
IOM Port of Spain
Tel: +1 868 623 2441 Ext 13138/9 or + 1 868 627 6969