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Ralph Gonsalves

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo)

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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is warning Vincentians that offers of babysitting jobs in England could put them at risk of becoming victims of human trafficking.

He further warned that travelling to England to take up these offers could hurt the individual as well as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Speaking on state ratio today (Wednesday), the prime minister said he has asked Commissioner of Police Colin John and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit of the constabulary to “get involved” in addressing the issue.

“It has come to my attention that some persons — it hasn’t become a flood yet — but it may become if we don’t put a stop to it and it deals with some persons who are holding out promises to young ladies to go to England to be babysitters,” said Gonsalves, who is also minister of national security.

He said that some of these women go to the Office of the Prime Minister seeking help in getting to England.

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“And our office is telling them very simply, … because you are a Vincentian, you can get to go there (England) without a visa and stay up to six months, provided that you have somewhere where you are staying and all the rest of it.

“But you can’t go to England to go work unless you have a work permit.”

He said that some people who travel to England in these circumstances work illegally as babysitters at below minimum wage 

“…  then they get abused in one way or the other, things are difficult, they don’t have anybody — friends or family — up there to help them, they may overstay, they get deported, they get locked up, or sometimes they get pushed into things which are worse.

Look, these promises which are held by some individuals who do not have your interest at heart. And I know the Labour Department has given out information on these things already,” the prime minister said.

He said that some countries have lost the privilege of their passport holders travelling visa-free to England.

“…  because either the persons who going involved in some criminality or there are persons who abuse this particular privilege of going without a visa.

Now, as I say, I am openly alerting people, especially the young woman — some young men, too, but mainly young women, overwhelmingly — to this particular problem. And some persons are anxious just as they leave and they don’t think it through,” Gonsalves said.  

And if you hear about it and I hear about it, other people hearing about it, we can’t just remain silent on it, we have to talk about it, to advise people not to do this, you’re harming yourself and you’re harming the country.

Please, listen to me. All I can do in these circumstances is to give sensible advice here,” he said.

“And they have done it in other countries in the Caribbean before you know and we have had problems and I believe that the police may know at least one group or at least a couple individuals were involved in it. Not Vincentians; some persons who come and live among us. So I’m just advising this.”

In 2012, Canada imposed visa restrictions on SVG and a number of other countries.

“A key reason why the government has imposed visa requirements on St. Lucia and St. Vincent is unreliable travel documents. In particular, criminals from these countries can legally change their names and acquire new passports. In some instances, people who were removed from Canada as security risks later returned using different passports,” Ottawa said at the time.  

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8 replies on “England job offers could lead to human trafficking, Gonsalves warns”

  1. This human is right for almost once in his miserable life so take heed.Without the proper documents there is little breathing space you can even be confronted on the streets or in public places by members from the HOME OFFICE and ask to produce documents to show that you are legally entitled to be in the UK so once again TAKE HEED.

  2. Lenneth Boucher UK SVG says:

    I believe things should be done properly and the necessary documents should be requested also legislation put into place making health & safety laws is in place my advice is if ones do know the proper procedure please do not leave for where you are ……because this can be very serious remember lives involved here . There is a lot of crazy stuff going on out there…… no matter the circumstances always tell yourself that God will make a way where there is no way always believe in His word….. never rush easy offers this can be very very dangerous God bless…..

  3. Urlan Alexander says:

    Human trafficking??? Come on Ralph. Is that your poor excuse for yoir inability to provide jobs? Many Vincentians left their home countrt and take up all kinds of jobs. They got paid low wages and usually collect their money “under the table” until they sought themselves out. They started out by going to America and England as illegals. 90% pf them started this way. It’s not new. While human trafficking do exist it is not happening with those in England. Your information is wrong or you misspoke as usual.
    Every vincy who went to England know what they were gettring into. They know its better than being here where they are victimized or refused a job. Ralph come again your poor excuse for a leader is exposed every time you open your mouth.
    This one will not gain any traction except to have the English immigration authorities clamp down on vincentians travelling to England. You want everyone to remain poor and beg you so you
    can determine who live or who die.

  4. Why the hell you are not creating employment for these people so they won’t have to risk their lives? Where are the factories and other sources for employment? You should be ashamed speaking on this one, please shut up.

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