CARICOM had decided to commission a study on human trafficking in the region in light of the negative impact it has been having in this area and other serious challenges encountered.
CARICOM in a recent media release noted that "trafficking in persons is increasingly being identified as one of the largest transnational organised crimes and one of the most underreported crimes in the world. Given the nature of the crime and difficulty in obtaining statistics, the true dimensions of this scourge, whether within the region or beyond is unknown. Consequently, potential victims and perpetrators often go undetected."
Following a competitive bid process from well-known, research agencies, Canadian based firm - Dunn Pierre, Barnett, and Company Canada Limited was awarded the contract to conduct the study.
The countries included in this project are Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname. The CARIFORUM study is being funded from the Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme under the Tenth European Development Fund(10th EDF).
The team according to the release comprises of ten consultants led by Dr. Ninna Nyberg Sorensen from the Danish Institute of International Studies, Dr. Victoria Knox from the Department of Force Migration and Refugees Studies, University of London and Dr. Justine Pierre, Migration and Labour Market Consultant, Dunn, Pierre, Barnett, and Company.
The study which began in late July will track specific methods including:
(i)profiles of trafficked persons and vulnerability factors for trafficking as well as the traffickers. (ii) mechanisms to counteract border and law enforcement issues and information-sharing and (iv) anti-trafficking efforts currently being undertaken in each member state.
Dr. Victoria Knox already visited Trinidad and Tobago in early August and spoke with several stakeholders including the Counter-Trafficking Unit, CARICOM Impacs, the Attorney General and the DPP office.
Last week Dr. Pierre visited Trinidad and conducted an interview with some of the traffickers working in the industry. Pierre said he was "amazed to see how organised the industry was and how freely members of organised clandestine organisations operate in the twin republic."
Pierre noticed in Trinidad and Tobago the increased demand for human trafficking victims in the sex and force labour sector.