Providing Vital Skills to Prevent and Combat Human Trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago

Posted: 
04/10/08

As evidence of human trafficking and migrant smuggling increases in
Trinidad and Tobago, IOM is conducting a two-day training seminar
on Direct Assistance and Victim Identification.

The technical skills training, ending today in the city of San
Fernando, is providing 26 government and non-governmental
participants with basic understanding of human trafficking, tips on
how to identify and successfully interview potential victims, and
how to provide those victims with comprehensive direct
assistance.

"Human trafficking is showing signs of establishing itself in
Trinidad and Tobago.  A small number of cases have been
confirmed in the past year and IOM is working with the law
enforcement officers to help investigate and reduce the incidences
of human trafficking and smuggling of persons.  Such irregular
migrants need the help of the combined efforts of the community and
law enforcement officers to escape often desperate situations,"
explains Tom Sinkovits, IOM Chief of Mission in Trinidad and
Tobago.

The victims of trafficking that have been identified in Trinidad
and Tobago are mostly from Colombia.  They hail from poor
villages and are used in the sex industry. In a small number of
instances they are under 18 years of age and as young as 15. 
They are transported overland through Venezuela and then brought
over the short stretch of water by small fishing boats that land on
Trinidad's remote beaches.  Smaller numbers try to enter via
the airports but are detected and returned.

The smuggled migrants often have been in the country
before.  There is a strong pull to Trinidad and Tobago as the
country has a growing economy.  The irregular migrants work in
various sectors of the economy where there are labour
shortages.  Some of them use Trinidad as a transit point to
travel to North America.

One of the main objectives of IOM's Caribbean
Counter-Trafficking Initiative (CCTI) is to facilitate the
establishment of an interagency coalition to focus on the issue and
to develop responses to human trafficking in Trinidad and
Tobago. 

Later this year, IOM will publish exploratory research on human
trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago and will assist in the launching
of a local counter-trafficking information campaign.

More than 100 law enforcement officers and NGO staff have
participated in previous IOM counter- trafficking training sessions
held in the capital, Port of Spain.

This project is funded and supported by the US Department of
State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA).  IOM's
Caribbean Counter-Trafficking Initiative and its
Counter-Trafficking Training Modules are funded by the US
Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
(PRM).

For more information, please contact:

Tom Sinkovits

IOM Port of Spain

Tel. +1.868.623.7056  ext 286

E-mail: "mailto:tsinkovits@iom.int">tsinkovits@iom.int