The government increased prevention efforts, taking steps to inform the public and potential victims about trafficking. The government’s inter-ministerial committee to coordinate anti-trafficking policy met regularly, as did the government’s anti-trafficking taskforce, which was charged with ensuring operational coordination on trafficking cases. The government continued to conduct a nationwide public awareness campaign to educate students, vulnerable populations, faith communities, the public, and government officials about human trafficking through the use of pamphlets in English and Creole to inform potential victims of their rights and available resources, public service announcements on television and radio throughout the country, and a museum exhibit. The government partnered with NGOs to implement its 2014-2018 national anti-trafficking strategy and detailed action plan that outlined efforts related to government infrastructure, prevention, victim and witness protection, investigation and prosecution, and partnerships. The government dedicated resources to implement the plan, but noted that the officials responsible for trafficking matters also have other areas of responsibilities and are, therefore, not solely dedicated to trafficking cases. NGOs reported the government partnered to engage vulnerable communities in more than ten community outreach sessions to discuss trafficking. The Bahamas actively participated in the Caribbean Trafficking in Persons working group with Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, St. Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda by developing a shared social media campaign to raise awareness about trafficking in the region.
The government formalized its policy in the Department of Labor’s 2017-2019 Strategic Plan to raise awareness and advise foreign nationals of their labor rights, limits on recruitment fees, and prohibition against document retention, in addition to the current practice of sending letters to foreign nationals with work permits, which explain the definition of trafficking and advise employers of the prohibition against document retention. The Department of Labor raised awareness in the business community, distributed pamphlets about labor trafficking and workers’ rights, advised potential job seekers about potential fraud in the cruise ship industry, screened for indicators of trafficking when inspecting work sites, and identified a foreign national as a labor trafficking victim during the reporting period. The government provided anti-trafficking training for immigration and labor officials, and its diplomatic personnel, including a rotation in the legal affairs office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration where officials participate in inter-ministerial anti-trafficking committee meetings. The government distributed trafficking awareness-raising materials in consular reception areas. The government conducted awareness efforts targeted at potential clients of the sex trade, closed some sex trade establishments, and conducted random inspections of businesses, including strip clubs and bars, to identify and hold accountable owners of such establishments. Authorities did not consider child sex tourism to be a problem in The Bahamas and reported no child sex tourism investigations, although it developed a special pamphlet on child trafficking, trained tourism officials, and placed anti-trafficking pamphlets in tourism information booths. The government has developed general standard operating procedures for victim identification, protection and referral, and specific procedures for data collection and victim care, including referrals for medical or mental health care, and terms of reference for research, and case management.