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‘Human traffickers make at least $1 mil. annually in The Bahamas’

Human traffickers make at least $1 million annually from the sexual exploitation of victims in The Bahamas, an official from the Ministry of National Security said yesterday.

Following a joint press conference between the Ministry of National Security and the United States Embassy in Nassau, Susanne Knowles, who chairs the Ministry of National Security’s inter-ministry committee, told The Nassau Guardian, “While I am a little hesitant, I would say that the cases that have been identified in The Bahamas have all been sexual exploitation and you can make an excess of $100,000 from one victim.

“So, let’s just say it is prevalent here. Let’s just say, maybe in our dark places, we can have as much as 100 victims. I would say well over $1 million annually.”

While noting that human trafficking is a $150 billion global enterprise, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday that the government is working on a method of quantifying human trafficking in The Bahamas.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work in trying to really bring more attention to this crime and to bring more focus,” Dames said.

“So, you can expect to see moving forward more work done from an empirical standpoint to get more data that will help us better understand the context to the problem that we face. We will work toward that.”

Last week, the U.S. State Department released its 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, which noted that The Bahamas held on to its tier one ranking for the fifth year in a row.

The report noted that The Bahamas continues to demonstrate “serious and sustained” efforts to combat trafficking.

The State Department said The Bahamas remains a destination where men, women and children are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.

It also found that there were decreased efforts to enforce human trafficking legislation in The Bahamas.

Dames said the government’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Unit “has more than tripled its awareness, training and education budget”.

“The TIP Unit has embraced regional cooperation for memoranda of association with Mexico and Colombia, two nations that were source countries where victims of trafficking would have to come to The Bahamas in the past,” Dames said.

“Bilateral agreements once signed would remove the red tape to collaboratively investigate and prosecute.”

Speaking about the The Bahamas’ efforts to address trafficking, U.S. Charge d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers said the government demonstrated “strong political will and commitment” toward combatting human trafficking in The Bahamas.

She said the efforts resulted in a significant strengthening of TIP efforts.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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