Frequently Asked Questions on Human Trafficking.
The following FAQs reflect questions commonly posed to CURB members by participants in our counter human trafficking training sessions and those attending our various public awareness events.
The answers reflect the legal position and factual situation in Trinidad and Tobago. We hope this localisation is of benefit to our website readers from Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.
We encourage you to REPORT possible instances of human trafficking to the authorities. You do NOT have to KNOW it is in fact human trafficking in order to report it.
What is Human Trafficking?
"Human Trafficking" is the layman's term often given to what is known in international law and under T&T law as Trafficking In Persons. It was first defined in international law by the Palermo Protocol of 2000 and is defined in Trinidad and Tobago in the Trafficking In Persons Act which was passed in 2011.
It involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of force, deception, coercion, abduction, abuse of power, etc. for the purpose of exploitation. To prove trafficking of adults, the stipulated Means must be present but if the victim is a minor (under 18 years) there is no need to prove the said Means were used.
What amounts to Exploitation?
Exploitation includes keeping a person in a state of slavery, servitude, illegal removal of their organs, engaging them in commercial sexual exploitation, causing them to transport illegal items and deriving a benefit through the abuse of another person.
Does human trafficking only occur across borders?
No. The offence arises whether a person is trafficked into, within or out of a country.
Is human trafficking the same as smuggling?
No. Migrant smuggling, as it is properly known, is the voluntary movement of a person across an international border through illegal means such as using a forged or no passport, visa or travel documents. There are similarities between the 2 offences as they are often both facilitated by criminal networks, are lucrative to the criminals, often use similar routes (where there is international human trafficking) and involve the movement of human beings.
Does human trafficking occur in the Caribbean?
Yes. Research conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and reports from regional governments as well as the annual Trafficking In Persons Report confirm this to be true. Forms of human trafficking in the Caribbean are (a) for forced labour; (b) for domestic servitude and (c) for sexual exploitation. The victims identified in the region are Caribbean nationals, local nationals, Latin Americans, Africans, Indians, etc. They are from various ethnic, social and educational backgrounds, all ages and sexes.