Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (IWN file photo)
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (IWN file photo)

Having your child help out in the family shop can raise concerns about child labour in the United States.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves used sarcasm as he made the point on Monday while commenting on this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report prepared by the United States.

The report said this country is “a source, transit, and destination country for some men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking”.

It further says that officials have expressed concern about the possible existence of adults pressuring children under the age of 18 to provide sex acts to men in exchange for money or gifts, a form of sex trafficking.

“Officials have also raised concerns regarding foreign women engaged in prostitution in or transiting through the country.

“Other vulnerable groups include foreign workers and children under the age of 16 working in shops,” the report further said.

“Well, I never knew that since I was a little boy in my mother’s shop, where I learnt so much, that there was some child labour there or that there was some trafficking in persons. I never knew that. I always thought it was a wonderful education. But, you know, you live and you learn and I am prepared to learn and I understand our context,” Gonsalves told a press conference in Kingstown.

Gonsalves said he puts “a lot of query about this trafficking in persons report.

“I’ve made my position known already about this unilateral assumption by the United States for grading people. But, for what it is worth, we are at Tier 2. There is no country in CARICOM, which is Tier 1,” he observed.

Tier 2 groups countries whose governments, the United States says, do not fully comply with the trafficking in persons minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.

SVG has been removed from the Tier 2 Watch List, a previous categorisation.

Tier 2 Watch List comprises countries whose governments “do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards …”

Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago remain in that category.

“So we have a better ranking than those on the Tier 2 watch list. But, as I say, I have a problem with many of their comments and we’ve made those known.”

Gonsalves noted that the United States has expressed concerns about the extent of prosecution of crimes relating to the trafficking in persons.

“Now, I don’t prosecute. If the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) doesn’t find the particular evidence as passing their test to prosecute — but there are the systems in place. We passed the law, we report to Parliament, we do the awareness, and all the rest of the stuff,” he said.

2 replies on “Human trafficking report doesn’t consider cultural values, PM says”

  1. TeacherFang says:

    Yes Cultural values my play a part in how these reports are generated…but at the same time,stop side stepping the issue.

    Tell the DPP to start persecuting these wutless men who abusing the young girls in SVG. And also persecute the mothers who are prostituting their daughters for financial and material gain.

    These reports don’t generate out of thin air…the US personnel is getting their information from folks in SVG and there are a lot more than can be done to address certain shortcomings in this report.

    Yes at times these reports are a bit generic in that they cover every issue from a similar angle that is not necessarily reflective of a particular country.For instance the notion of human trafficking in SVG is in my opinion misleading,as I doubt very much, we are really engage in human trafficking as they do in the US or other parts of the world. Well att least I hope so.

  2. The whole matter was first generated by the reporting about the brothel that was being run at a Villa beach 6 bedroom little bordello, using a bevy of little girls imported from Guyana in 2002/3. There were also two underage Vincentian girls involved. Main clients according to vehicle registration numbers, were ULP hierarchy, confirmed by sightings, and recorded details.

    Then in 2011 the school for home helps, promised jobs in Canada after they finished a course in SVG, a whole lot of unfortunate Nepalese men and women shipped to SVG. They paid their own airfares and a tuition fee up front. Their families took loans from Nepalese money lenders, putting them in debt for up to 20 years. They were never found jobs in Canada, being financed for shipment home by the ULP government. Unfortunately they were given an even worse problem when the government only paid for tickets as far as India, which put them in worse problems than if they had stayed in SVG.

    Both these cases have been reported to the US authorities, and the ULP regime know fully well that these are reported cases that have appeared in the press.

    There are hundreds of children kept away from schools in SVG because the parents just cannot afford to send them to school, cannot even afford to feed them. The families are mainly rural and the children end up as cheap labour in the farming community, the only way some families can survive. This step backwards has been created by the destruction of agriculture at the hands of the ULP government.

    If anyone knows of other instances please make a comment, listing what you know.

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