by Audley Phillip
Human trafficking is a real threat to human security, especially for women. Apart from forced labour, women are also sexually exploited.
Here in Antigua, the authorities, including the police and the Gender Affairs Department continues to pay lip service to this scourge that has been dogging Antigua for years.
The sex trade is well known throughout the Caribbean and the young girls, particularly from Jamaica, Guyana and the Dominican Republic are recruited, sometimes under the disguise of coming to work in bars and hotels as waitresses, are brought into the islands.
Owners and managers of these establishments work with recruiters in their home countries to find and invite these girls to the islands and are paid a hefty sum for doing it. Once the girls are sourced, then prepaid tickets are sent to them and upon arrival here, they are ably facilitated and landed by our gracious Immigration Department who have become complicit in this sordid business.
Both our Government and it’s agencies are extremely hypocritical with its own laws criminalizing human trafficking when they are part and parcel of the going ons. Who doesn’t know about this in Antigua are the unborn children.
From time to time, the police would swoop down on the local houses of ill repute just to appease Interpol and other International Agencies to make it look as if Antigua is doing something but even when arrests are made, nothing more comes out of the cases except for a few Immigration violations. Once everyone is released, the sex predators continue their violations bated. Incidentally, the number of these houses of ill repute have grown significantly over the years.
The truth is, there are no strict regulations in the regional framework to combat human trafficking. Every country have different priorities and perspectives regarding this issue. And whilst this continues to flourish with official sanction, our churches have remained mostly silent as the moral fabric of our society continues to wane.