The government maintained efforts to prosecute traffickers in 2016. During the reporting period, the government repealed the Transactional Organized Crime (TOC) Act of 2011, which did not prohibit all forms of human trafficking and did not prescribe penalties for trafficking that were sufficiently stringent. In June, the Trafficking In Persons Prevention Act (TIPPA) was enacted. The TIPPA criminalizes all forms of human trafficking and is generally in line with the definition of international law, defining “exploitation” broadly to include slavery, practices similar to slavery, forced labor, domestic and sexual servitude, and the exploitation of the prostitution of another or other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. It also requires “means” of force, fraud or coercion, except with regard to the exploitation of children. The TIPPA covers transnational as well as domestic trafficking crimes, makes evidence of past sexual behavior inadmissible, disallows the defense of consent, and makes withholding or destroying travel documents a crime. The punishment for labor or sex trafficking of adults is the same: 25 years in prison, a fine of one million Barbados dollars (BDS) ($495,050), or both penalties. Labor or sex trafficking of children is punished by a fine of two million BDS ($990,099), life imprisonment, or both penalties. The maximum sentences prescribe punishment that is sufficiently stringent to deter, and the penalties for sex trafficking are commensurate with those for rape. However, by allowing for a fine in lieu of imprisonment, the prescribed punishment is not commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape.
Authorities conducted two raids on nightclubs in 2016. Police identified eight victims in the two raids; all were immigrant women, seven Jamaicans and one Guyanese. As in 2015 and 2014, all of the victims refused to cooperate with law enforcement and requested to be returned to their home countries. Outside of the two raids, the police investigated one additional sex trafficking case involving a woman who came to Barbados under the guise of a modeling job. After further investigation, the director of public prosecutions chose not to bring charges under the TIPPA, and instead charged the perpetrator with unlawful confinement, rape, assault, and theft; the prosecution was pending at the close of the reporting period. The 2016 investigation record compared with six trafficking investigations in 2015, eight in 2014, and three in 2013. There were no new prosecutions initiated under the TIPPA during the reporting period, as there were none in 2015 and 2014. A prosecution that was ongoing in 2014 against two suspected traffickers is scheduled for a hearing in April 2017. A 2013 case involving an immigration official charged with complicity and misconduct in public office was cleared of charges; the individual was moved to another unit. To date, the government has not convicted any traffickers under the TIPPA.
The government did not report any new investigations or prosecutions of government employees complicit in human trafficking offenses and has never reported any convictions of government employees complicit in such offenses. The government supported training sessions for law enforcement and judicial personnel. A police officer and an attorney from the director of public prosecutor’s office attended a seminar in El Salvador on the prosecution of human traffickers. An additional 12 officers attended training on victim identification and prosecution of cases in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Turks and Caicos. The government provided per diem allowances for attendees; an international organization covered the cost of travel. The government continued to train and re-train law enforcement officers in 2016 at levels consistent with last year’s reporting period.