Trinidad and Tobago is among several Caribbean Countries given a failing grade by the United States regarding the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.
This as the US Department of State released its 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TiPs) report.
According to the report, T&T maintains its Tier 2 position.
Tier 2 countries do not fully meet the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) but are making significant efforts to do so.
The report, however, noted the Government’s efforts including increasing anti-trafficking training, initiating investigations against three potentially complicit officials, initiating prosecutions and establishing a new intelligence task force to improve investigations.
However, the report said T& T still does not meet the minimum standards in several key areas including conviction of traffickers with no convictions secured under the 2011 anti-trafficking legislation.
Criminologist Darius Figuera acknowledged that Trinidad and Tobago has been behind in tackling human trafficking but added that the report by the US Department of State is not necessarily informed by the reality facing the country
He called on the Government to act not based on the US Department of State report but rather on actual data and statistics which can aid in determining a path forward in tackling the issue.
The report also criticised what it said was a lack of screening of migrants/refugees/ asylum-seekers for potential trafficking.
It added that this resulted in trafficking victims being penalised for immigration offences.