NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Royal Bahamas Defence Force continues to raise awareness, as well as sensitize its personnel to illicit activities associated with Trafficking in Persons (TIPS) through training seminars coordinated by the RBDF Training Department at the Coral Harbour Base.
The Defence Force is a multi-faceted, multi-purpose agency, and Commander Defence Force, Commodore Tellis Bethel, is adamant that partnerships with local law enforcement agencies be strengthened in keeping with the strategic agenda of the Minister of National Security, the Hon. Marvin Dames. As a result, the Force must be adequately prepared to confront a multiplicity of challenges, which includes the prevention, protection and suppression of Trafficking in Persons.
As the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is responsible for protecting the borders and natural resources of The Bahamas from external threats and the harmful consequences of drugs, arms, human smuggling and poaching, the aim of the TIPS seminars is to share with participants how human traffickers exploit the vulnerabilities of people for personal gain.
The training will therefore assist greatly with improving and sustaining the overall objectives of the United Nations Convention on Human Rights, in particular, Trafficking in Persons, as well as The Bahamas’ Trafficking in Persons Act 2008 and its objective to remain a Tier 1 country.
Over the years, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has contributed significantly to the development of the TIPS Task Force from its inception in the areas of training and initial victim identification. The year 2011 marked the introduction of Defence Force personnel to Trafficking in Persons training programs.
In 2013, the Defence Force training programme was expanded to include all Defence Force personnel who sit the Force’s Advancement, Leadership, Supervisory and Managements Courses. This has resulted in over 1300 out of approximately 1500 members receiving initial identity skills and techniques training. The Defence Force’s role as first responder is therefore critical and the training has enabled it to better perform its duties over the past 5 years.
On Friday Nov. 16, 97 participants graduated from another one-day TIPS Seminar. Senior Lieutenant Origin Deleveaux, RBDF Training Officer and the TIPS Liaison Officer, spearheaded multiple one-day training sessions held from May to November of this year. He was joined by the TIP Task Force of volunteers, led by Ms. Susan Knowles, Trafficking in Persons Interagency Chairperson, Ministry of National Security.
This year, the TIP Task Force was invited to expand the scope of the TIP Training to include presentations from: the Ministry of National Security, Immigration, Civic Society, Social Services, The Office of the Department Public Prosecution, Royal Bahamas Police Force, Faith Based Organizations, Public Hospital Authority, Foreign Affairs, University Of the Bahamas and The Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
It is the sixth Training Seminar for this year and over 700 Defence Force personnel including Social and Hotline workers from the Department of Social Services, Doctors and Nurses, and other front line personnel from Public Hospital Authority have participated thus far.
The comprehensive one-day session included presentations and panel discussions to raise awareness of inter-agency roles and responsibilities in combating this transnational crime. Applicable International Law on Trafficking in Persons (UN Protocol) Topics covered were: The Bahamas Legislative Framework, National Bodies on TIPs, Victim Identification/Assistance/Protection, Medical Care for Victims, Victim Interviews, Investigations, Prosecution and Punishment, Training, National Coordination and Trafficking in Persons Indicators.