Report: 6,000 slaves in TT

While the report ranked TT in several tables of figures, it gave few specific descriptive details of any types of slavery that might exist in TT. However, for the wider region of “The Americas” it listed the two main forms of enslavement as equally being labour exploitation and sexual exploitation. Generally, the report defined modern slavery to include forced labour, debt bondage, human trafficking, forced prostitution, child slavery and forced marriage (including of children).

“Modern slavery in the Americas affects men, women and children, and has manifested as forced labour, commercial sexual exploitation and, to a lesser degree, forced begging. Forced labour primarily affects men and women in the agricultural, mining, construction and domestic industries, predominantly in North and Central America and the Caribbean.” The main other offence singled out by the report for the Americas was child marriage.

“According to UNICEF in 2014, Latin America and the Caribbean were the only zones where the incidence of child marriage had not decreased and remained level with previous years,” said the report.

“In Brazil, 877,000 women reported in the 2010 Census that they had been married by the age of 15. In 2014, the prevalence rate of child marriage in Brazil was at 34 percent.

Other countries within the region reported similarly high rates of child marriage: 41 percent in the Dominican Republic, 23 percent in Mexico, 41 percent in Nicaragua, 34 percent in Honduras, and 30 percent in Guatemala.” On the list of 167 countries in the GSI Report, TT ranked 28th best in the estimated absolute number of enslaved people in the country (6,200).

The worst nations were India (18 million slaves) and China (three million), while the best nations were Luxumburg (100 slaves), Iceland (400 slaves) and Barbados (600 slaves).

Otherwise TT appeared halfway down a list of the countries when ranked according to what measures their governments have put in place to combat slavery.

These measures are as follow: Survivors of slavery are supported to exit slavery and empowered to break the cycle of vulnerability; effective criminal justice responses are in place in every jurisdiction; effective and measurable national action plans are implemented and fully funded in every country; laws, policies and programmes address attitudes, social systems and institutions that create vulnerability and enable slavery; and governments stop sourcing goods or services linked to modern slavery.

The report alleged official complicity in enslavement, in a reference to off-duty police officers providing security to brothels and a case of police officers “directly interfering” in the case of five Colombian women engaged in prostitution whom they detained but did not turn over to the Immigration Department, as reported in the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report of the US State Department.

“Complicity in modern slavery cases is widespread and not investigated,” said the GSI Report.

On forced labour, the report alleged “patterns of abuse of labour migrants are widespread and unchecked.” This included unfairly-high recruitment fees that immigrants can never afford to repay and the seizure of their passports, all making it hard for them to leave their employer, added the report.

“There are laws or policies that prevent or make it difficult for workers to leave abusive employers without risk of loss of visa and deportation.” The report also alleged a lack of victim- support services (including shelters), coupled with a harsh application of law that criminalises them for acts done while under the dominion of their employer/exploiter.

“Foreign victims are detained/deported,” said the report.

However a 2014 report by researchers (under Andrew Guth) at George Mason University questioned the reliability of the research methods used for the GSI reports


"Report: 6,000 slaves in TT"

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