On July 8th, 2020, the Minister of National Security of The Bahamas, the Honourable Marvin Dames announced that during the last reporting period, April 1st, 2019 to March 31st, 2020, The Bahamas has continued to advance its national mandate to fight Trafficking in Persons (TIPs) and maintained its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Tier 1 Status that for the sixth consecutive year. The Honourable Minister stated that the Tier 1 Status is one given to countries whose governments strengthen anti-trafficking measures. The Honourable Minister noted that the status was achieved by enabling members of the TIP Committee to lead within their respective agencies and organisations through investigation of cases and prosecution of perpetrators, with the goal of protecting victims.
The Honourable Minister went on the state that The Bahamas’ success is due to the readiness and cooperation of all its government and non-government partners. The Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) continues to provide support and acts as a reporting mechanism to keep TIP initiatives on track. “Specifically, the investigative team from the TIP Task Force took the opportunity to screen 151 migrant nationals from Abaco to eliminate the existence of the possibility of trafficking in persons. Moreover, for the past reporting period, the TIP Unit continued to heighten its awareness and training through the strategic placement of multiple digital media boards displaying anti-trafficking messages on main thoroughfares and at the Lynden Pindling International Airport” he added.
The TIP Unit was also guided by the delineated recommendations made by the U.S. Department of State during the last reporting period. The Honourable Minister noted that to date, “there were increased efforts to prosecute and convict and increased awareness raising through the distribution of translated brochures into four languages: Spanish, Mandarin, Creole and French. “TIP has also embraced new initiatives for this new reporting period, mainly the focus on greater inter island educational campaigns and the training of the judiciary that is well underway through webinars.”
Minister Dames pointed out that given the current climate of Covid-19, the TIP Committee had four virtual meetings and their work continued unabated during “this new normal”. He also acknowledged the role of several agencies in organizing training, investigations, prosecutions and support; the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Departments of Customs, Health, Immigration, Labour and Social Services.