The US Department of State has listed human trafficking as a significant issue and notes that it an international challenge which places at least 20.9 to 27.1 million individuals in modern-day slavery.
If fact, the latest human trafficking report (2019) of the US Department of State indicated that human trafficking is the fastest-growing organised criminal enterprise in the world. Despite these statistics, there is an understanding that given the nature of the industry the true expanse of this industry remains unknown. This is due to the fact that there is difficulty in obtaining accurate statistics as a result of lack of accurate reporting from government agencies, victims, and non-governmental organisations.
In an attempt to grapple with the global challenge of human trafficking, the Caricom Secretariat in Georgetown on 26 July 2019, issued a press release indicating its readiness to undertake one of the largest consultancies to study human trafficking and its effects. In a competitive field of applicants, the firm of Dunn Pierre Barnett and company limited was awarded the contract to conduct a comprehensive study on Human Trafficking in the Caricom region. The countries which are included in the study are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. The study is expected to provide a greater understanding of the problem not only within each nation-state, but also transnationally.
The study began on 19 July 2019 and when completed will inform the methods that will be used to design interventions which are evidence-based and consistent with best practices in anti-trafficking including, prevention, protection and prosecution. It is hoped that the research will also provide useful information on, types, patterns and routes of trafficking; profiles of trafficked persons, and vulnerability factors for trafficking; border and law enforcement issues and information about the traffickers; and anti-trafficking efforts currently being undertaken. It will also examine anti-trafficking efforts of international organisations and civil society within the region.
Two Grenadians are among the top leading investigators on this significant project, namely, Dr Justine C Pierre the Demographer, Migration and Labour Market Consultant (originally from Fontenoy) and Dr Ezra Matthias the researcher and policy analysis (originally from Belmont). The other lead consultants include are Dr Victoria Knox from the University of London Department of Force Migration and Refugee Studies and Dr Ninna Sorensen form the Danish Institute of International Studies.
Dr Pierre is well known in the Caribbean region having recently conducted (2017 to 2018) the Caribbean-wide research project for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) “on the Effects of Migration on the Public Health Sector in the region”. He was also the lead consultant for the Turks and Caicos National Skills Audit and Migration research project. A few years ago Dr Pierre was part of a team that completed the first Labour Market Needs Analysis in the OECS, and was a team member which conducted the recent EU “Thematic Global Evaluation Survey” in the sectors of employment and social inclusion, including vocational training, in the countries of Chile, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Ukraine, South Africa, and Vietnam.
Dr Matthias, a former Education Administrator for the New York City Department of Education, and a former economics and policy analysis professor has over 20 years’ experience in international development including organisational leadership, management, policy economic and research methods.
Other consultants include Edwin St Catherine (Former Director of Statistics and in St Lucia), Dr Olivia Smith, Lecturer and the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, and former Caricom Deputy Program Manager, Free Movement and Labour Caricom Secretariat and Political Specialist US Embassy Barbados and Veronica Canac, lawyer located in St Lucia. Project consultants will engage with stakeholders and social actors in each CARIFORUM Member State and contact points from line ministries in the Member States as well as representatives from regional and international institutions.
According to the latest United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Report (2018) Human Trafficking is on the rise in the CARIFORUM region. Therefore, this study is being conducted at a critical time. Human Trafficking is defined as the subjection of men, women and children to compelled service for the purposes of exploitation. This CARIFORUM study is being conducted with funding from the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme under the Tenth European Development Fund (10th EDF).