Bahamas warned of corruption in US trafficking report

… While maintaining tier one compliance

Although The Bahamas Government meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking according to the latest United States (U.S.) trafficking assessment, allegations of corruption are still a major concern.

The comments come from the 2018 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report released by the U.S. State Department on Thursday.

“Credible allegations of corruption raised concerns about vulnerabilities to potential trafficking victims during the reporting period,” the report read.

According to the country’s write up, The Bahamas also “identified fewer victims and was inconsistent with implementation of screening procedures for vulnerable populations”.

The report made several recommendations that The Bahamas’ front-line law enforcement agencies should employ with inorder to ensure full compliance and adhereance to intention standards.

Recommendations from the report include, “increased efforts to prosecute, convict, and appropriately punish traffickers; increased implementation of the victim identification and referral protocol to identify victims of sex and labor trafficking, especially among vulnerable groups; increase training for judges on a victim-centered approach and provide victims alternatives to in-person cross-examination in court; increase grassroots outreach to potential trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, in partnerships with NGOs; continue to provide all identified victims with adequate protection and assistance; appoint a secretariat to oversee all anti-trafficking 85 efforts; strengthen engagement with officials involved in anti-trafficking activities in other countries in the region; begin drafting a new anti-trafficking national action plan; develop and provide anti-trafficking training to diplomatic personnel; and continue to implement a nationwide public awareness campaign to educate the public and officials about human trafficking and its manifestations in The Bahamas, including the distinction between trafficking and smuggling.”

Even with the warnings of corruption, The Bahamas still fully met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking as the report maintained the country’s tier one status.

“The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period; therefore The Bahamas remained on Tier 1. The government demonstrated serious and sustained efforts by securing its first conviction since 2015. The government also screened more potential trafficking victims, increased funding for victim assistance, and collaborated with foreign countries on investigations.,” the report read.