Today marks the commemoration of the Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women.
This Day is being celebrated around the world by the launch of 16 days of activism against gender based violence.
Since 1991 the campaign has run each year from the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women to Human Rights Day on December 10th.
This year’s launch and commemorative event was held at the Trinidad Hilton with a panel discussion on the issue with a focus on human trafficking.
The panelists at today’s event included Gender Studies University Professor, Dr Gabrielle Hosein; Director of the Counter Trafficking Unit, Alana Wheeler; and former Attorney General, Mr Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.
The discussions acknowledged that human trafficking has become an issue in Trinidad and Tobago with the country serving as both a transit point and destination point for trafficking victims.
Speaking during the discussions, Mr. Maharaj noted however the conviction rate for the offence of human trafficking as he says no one has ever been convicted of that offence in our courts.
His comments were reiterated by Director Wheeler who explained that only 7 persons are currently before the courts on human trafficking related charges.
Mr. Maharaj added that during his time as Attorney General he came to the realization that while this country’s Police Service is one of the best in the Caribbean, they are hindered by a lack of forensic assistance.
Director Wheeler urged persons however to not become despondent as everyone can play a part in addressing the issue.
She encouraged persons to report any concerns they may have, regarding what they suspect may be human trafficking, to the relevant authorities.