The Bahamas Maintains International Top Tier Status in Fight Against Trafficking in Persons

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Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames and pertinent stakeholders speak, on July 8, 2020, during a press conference, at his Ministry’s head office, announcing that The Bahamas maintained its TIP Tier 1 Status that for the sixth consecutive year. (BIS Photos/Eric Rose)

Min. of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames announced, on July 8, 2020, that, during the past reporting period, April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, The Bahamas continued to advance its national mandate to fight Trafficking in Persons, (TIPs), and maintained its TIP Tier 1 Status that for the sixth consecutive year.“The Bahamas’ success is due to the readiness and cooperation of all of our partners gathered here today, our Government and non-government partners alike, and I want to use this opportunity to thank all of you for your commitment and hard work,” Minister Dames said, during a press conference held at his Ministry’s head office, on John F. Kennedy Drive.

Also present were Permanent Secretary Marco Rolle, multi-sectorial members of the TIP Committee, and various stakeholders. Minister Dames pointed out that the Tier 1 Status is one given to countries whose governments strengthen anti-trafficking measures by enabling members of the TIP Committee to lead within their respective agencies and organisations through investigation of cases and prosecution of perpetrators, with the ultimate goal of protecting victims.

“Thanks to the vision of Dr. the Most Hon. Hubert A. Minnis, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Trafficking in Persons was given priority in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) which was formed two years ago,” he said. “The PMDU continues to provide support and acts as a reporting mechanism to keep TIP initiatives on track.” Minister Dames said that, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian’s landfall in The Bahamas in September last year, while a number of inter-island awareness raising activities were postponed, the work of TIP did not stop.

Min. of National Security Hon. Marvin Dames.

“Specifically, the investigative team from the TIP Task Force, seized the opportunity to screen 151 migrant nationals from Abaco to eliminate the existence of the possibility of trafficking in persons,” he said. “Moreover, for the past reporting period, the TIP Unit continued to heighten its awareness and training through the strategic placement of multiple digital media boards displaying anti-trafficking messages on main thoroughfares and at the Lynden Pindling International Airport,” he added.

The TIP Unit was also guided by the delineated recommendations made by the US State Dept during the last reporting period, Min. Dames noted. “To date, I am pleased to report that there were increased efforts to prosecute and convict and increased awareness raising through the distribution of translated brochures into four languages: Spanish, Mandarin, Creole and French” he said.

“TIP has also embraced new initiatives for this new reporting period, mainly focus on greater inter island educational campaigns and the training of the judiciary that is well underway through webinars,” he added. Minister Dames pointed out that, given the current climate of Covid-19, the TIP Committee had four meetings virtually and their work continued unabated during “this new normal”.

“We recognize the ongoing cooperation of Commissioner Paul Rolle and the Royal Bahamas Police Force, whereby, the timely TIP training of police officers has allowed for the anti-trafficking message to spread across our Family Islands,” he said.

“We acknowledge the efforts of Commodore Raymond King and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force for organizing the specialized training of law enforcement personnel and civilians,” Minister Dames added.

“We also recognize the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which investigates and prosecutes traffickers, the Departments of Customs; Health; Immigration; Labour and Social Services; all in their respective roles, who continue to provide physical and emotional care to victims.” Min. Dames also acknowledged their partners at the U.S. Embassy, who had assisted them in broadening their reach in heightening initiatives to combat “the menace and problems associated with Trafficking in Persons.”

“Today, as we celebrate our success of six years in a row as a Tier 1 Status country, we remain committed through our collaborative efforts of government and non-government entities to eliminating vulnerable situations that cause trafficking in persons to continue, this is our mandate,” he said.

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