Barbados is among five CARICOM territories that are raising red flags within the United States Department of State for their failures to advance further in the fight against human trafficking.
According to the department's 2012 Trafficking in Person's Report, which was released on Tuesday (June 19), Barbados, Haiti, Suriname, The Bahamas, and Jamaica are on the Tier 2 Watch List. This list is reserved for countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
However, the absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing; there is a failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons from the previous year; or the determination that a country is making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with minimum standards was based on commitments by the country to take additional future steps over the next year.
This is in contrast with ordinary Tier 2 countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Guyana St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, whose governments were deemed to not have fully complied with the TVPA's minimum standards, but were making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.
In fact Barbados was judged to have been in danger of slipping down to Tier 3 status, that is, countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.
According to the report, Barbados is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for a third consecutive year. Barbados was granted a waiver of an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has developed a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan.
The report described Antigua and Barbuda as a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. The Bahamas, Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago were characterised as destination, source, and transit countries for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Barbados and Guyana were described as source and destination countries for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. While St. Lucia was deemed to be a destination country for persons subjected to forced prostitution and forced labour.