August 24, 2012
Combating Human Trafficking in SVG – Part 4

Fri, Aug 24, 2012

Measures undertaken by SVG to combat Trafficking

The United States Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2011 on SVG recommended the following to the government of SVG:

1. “Draft, enact and implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking law.

2. Investigate and prosecute possible sex or labour trafficking cases under existing, relevant legislation until a comprehensive anti-trafficking law is in place.

3. Identify and assist suspected trafficking victims.{{more}}

4. Implement formal policies to guide officials in how to identify and assist suspected victims of forced labour and forced prostitution.

5. Educate the public about forced labour and forced prostitution by conducting a high-profile public awareness campaign”.

The government of SVG has taken on board the recommendations made by the United States and has thus far achieved the following:

1. Enactment of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2011

This Act (No. 27 of 2011) received unanimous support in Parliament and was passed on September 29, 2011, in the House of Assembly. Section 5(1) of the Act defines the crime of Trafficking in Persons in SVG as ““any person who engages in, conspires to engage in, attempts to engage in, assists another person to engage in, or organizes or directs another person to engage in trafficking in persons commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars or to imprisonment for fifteen years or both”.

2. Training Workshops on Trafficking in Persons for Government Officials.

Several training workshops to sensitize government and non-governmental officials on matters relating to trafficking in persons have been held in conjunction with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the International Office of Migration (IOM).

3. Awareness Campaigns on Trafficking in Persons (TIP)

Numerous events were held to educate and sensitize the general public about human trafficking. The target audience included staff and students of our nation’s primary and secondary schools, staff at health centres, police officers, parents, youth groups and NGO’s. This initiative is ongoing.

4. Establishment of a Crisis Centre in the Ministry of Social Development, etc.

The primary function of this centre, among other things, is to serve as a safe haven for battered women and children, victims of abuse, such as domestic and other forms of violence, forced labour, forced prostitution and the likes.

5. The establishment of the Anti- Trafficking in Persons Unit (TIPU) in the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU) was established in the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force on March 07, 2012, by the Commissioner of Police. It is the primary unit charged with the responsibility, among other things, to enforce the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act.

The Unit is mandated to (a) Investigate possible cases of Trafficking in Persons (b) Prosecute suspected traffickers (c) Train law enforcement agents in Trafficking in Persons (d) Inform the general public, through awareness campaigns, about Trafficking in Persons (e) Submit quarterly reports to the Minister of National Security on all pertinent matters concerning Trafficking in Persons.

The mission of the Unit is:

To prevent, protect and offer a safe haven to victims of human trafficking and domestic violence; and vigorously pursue and prosecute the offenders of such acts.

The Unit’s vision is:

To suppress, eradicate and punish incidents of human trafficking and domestic violence against citizens and visitors to St Vincent and the Grenadines, by enforcing the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act; through awareness and educational campaigns to sensitize the public about the ills of human trafficking and domestic violence.


Editor, readers, many persons are of the view that human trafficking only occurs when someone is recruited or transported from SVG to Canada or Barbados or vice versa for the purpose of exploitation; that is not the case. Human trafficking is both ‘transnational’ and ‘local’; i.e., the crime of human trafficking can be committed across international borders and internally in SVG. For example, a person can be trafficked from SVG to the U.S.A or Canada and vice versa; and a person can be trafficked from Cumberland (SVG) in the north west of the island to Fancy in the north east.

In the next article, we will seek to address the topic of Child Trafficking.

(Continued from SEARCHLIGHT Midweek)

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU)
Police Headquarters
Questelles Police Station
Tel: 784-4571211
Email: [email protected]