The government maintained minimal efforts to protect victims. The government did not identify a single trafficking victim, compared with no victims identified in 2017 and 2018, eight victims identified in 2016, and 12 in 2015. Officials reported screening 30 vulnerable individuals for trafficking during the reporting year; this was a decrease from 60 individuals screened in 2018. The government did not report wider attempts to screen vulnerable individuals, including children, for trafficking indicators. An expert from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child noted in 2017 that Barbados was a transit country for trafficked exploited children, and the government was doing little to address the problem; there was no indication this situation had changed. The government did not report any activities of the National Committee for Monitoring the Rights of the Child, which was responsible for outreach on protections for children, including against sex trafficking.
Both the police and immigration use standard operating procedures (SOPs) to interview potential victims. The government reported that the SOPs were updated during the reporting period to take into account changing trafficking modes; the revised SOPs were pending government approval at the end of the reporting period. Officials reported ongoing monitoring of the international airport for vulnerable individuals displaying trafficking indicators during the reporting period. A formal referral process for government authorities and NGOs existed for victim care, as required by law, and the Gender Affairs Bureau was the designated government coordinator for local NGO assistance to victims. There was no specialized shelter for trafficking victims on Barbados. Female trafficking victims and their dependents could reside at an NGO-operated women’s domestic shelter; however, this shelter did not have the resources for, and previously struggled to assist, trafficking victims. The government had a separate agreement with an NGO to provide accommodations to male victims. The children’s care board could provide care for any identified child victims.
The government maintained an informal policy allowing foreign victims to receive temporary legal status as an alternative to their removal to countries where they face hardship or retribution by traffickers. The Minister of National Security could authorize victims, on a case-by-case basis, to remain and work in the country; however, the government did not report granting this status during the reporting period, as it identified no victims. The TIPPA authorized the government to provide safeguards for victims’ identities and those of their families, issue work permits, and provide transportation and security during legal proceedings. Government policy permitted victims to leave the country and return for hearings; it was not clear when these policies were last used to encourage victim testimony. The TIPPA allowed courts to order restitution from a trafficker after a conviction; however, no victims received restitution during the reporting period. The government completed an anti-trafficking manual outlining procedures for law enforcement or immigration to use when interviewing and assisting suspected trafficking victims. The Sex Crimes and Trafficking Unit led human trafficking sensitization training for 15 child care officers.