Members of Soroptomist International Esperance about to hang banners at Palmiste Park, San Fernandio, to mark World Day against Tafficking In Persons

Sascha Wilson

Identify, stop, report.

This is the message Soroptimist International Esperance is sending out to the public on World Day against Trafficking In Persons.

Explaining that sexual exploitation is not the only form of human trafficking, president Denyse Ewe says sometimes victims are being trafficked in plain sight, but the public is unaware.

She said, “In Trinidad, we actually have people as far as China, the Middle East and other parts of Asia that are trafficked to work here in the retail industry and so on and restaurants. Any person who is forced into working basically is trafficked. Sometimes we may not even ourselves think of it or give it a second thought but it could be the person working in your local supermarket. It could be your server in your favourite restaurant but these people are basically forced to work some of them don’t have their passports they live in conditions where 20 people may occupy one small apartment and all of that is considered human trafficking.”

Speaking to Guardian Media at Palmiste Park, where they also hung banners, Ewe said they have posted banners calling for an end of human trafficking and encouraging people to identify and report these crimes to the Counter Trafficking Unit (CTU) under the Ministry of National Security.

Noting that the United Nations General Assembly declared July 30 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, she said Soroptimists all over the Caribbean have been hanging similar banners.

“We ourselves have hung six banners in total from the Port in Port-of-Spain in high visibility areas to deep south where our message of identify, stop and report can be seen,” she said.

Through their social media platforms, she said they have been advocating, creating awareness and educating the public on issues that affect women like human trafficking, she said.

While 65 per cent of the people trafficked globally are women, she said men are also not safe.

Ewe appealed to the public to pay closer attention and report any suspicious activity that points to human trafficking.

She added:“I just want to encourage anyone if you suspect that someone is being trafficked, held against their will. They are working in conditions that you know that it’s not something they are doing of their own free will do call the Counter Trafficking Unit.”

The toll-free number is 800-4CTU.

Anyone convicted of Human Trafficking crimes in this country faces hefty fines ranging from $350,000 to $1 million as well as jail terms ranging from $12 years to 25 years. A company engaging in these crimes also faces a fine of $5 million