UNDP helps government develop strategy against human trafficking

UNDP helps government develop strategy against human trafficking


Homeland Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds. - File photo by Angelo Marcelle
Homeland Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds. – File photo by Angelo Marcelle

MINISTER of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds, has received four strategic reports on human trafficking from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to combat human trafficking through a multinational initiative known as CariSecure 2.0.

Funded by USAID and implemented by UNDP, CariSecure 2.0 provides technology, equipment and training to national institutions and agencies to improve the collection and analysis of crime data to create evidence-based approaches to reduce human trafficking.

This led to the creation of four reports: a costed roadmap for the implementation of the National Action Plan, a strategic plan for strengthening prosecutions, a report on capacity building and recommendations for future progress.

At the official handover ceremony at the International Waterfront Building on July 10, Hinds said that while he had not yet read the contents of the reports, every effort would be made to follow their recommendations.

Previously, Trinidad and Tobago had remained on the Tier 2 watch list of the Trafficking in Persons Report for three consecutive years before being upgraded to Tier 2 in June.

Hinds said the collaboration between UNDP and National Security had five objectives, the first of which was to combat youth involvement in crime.

He took the opportunity to remind the audience of his department’s recent anti-crime initiative, a $30,000 song contest called Called to Order.

The competition will run for three months and will see young people create their own lyrics, using instrumentals from Isasha’s The Call, Mr King, Ziggy Ranking, Prophet Benjamin and King David calling for an end to gang violence.

“We would have made young people aware of the need to move away from a life of delinquency and criminal activities and take more positive paths.”

Hinds said the ministry’s second goal was to review TT’s efforts on human trafficking.

“With respect to the Caribbean as a whole, we have taken note that Guyana and Suriname are considered two fully compliant states and we are working to do what we can to sit alongside those two states.”

The third objective identified in the project focused on capacity building efforts by the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit to use evidence-based approaches.

“Look at the facts, look at the circumstances, gather evidence from our activities and that evidence governs our decision-making, the deployment of our resources and how we do what we do to achieve full compliance.”

The fourth objective of the report was to identify the root cause of youth crime, a task he described as “the most difficult”.

“As we all know, crime is an expression of the sinful nature of the human person that manifests itself outwardly in some of the ways that we as a society call crime, but we must identify the root of it to protect society and our youth.”

The fifth objective aimed to design and implement policies, strategies and interventions to combat human trafficking.

“Once we determine the root cause, we can put in place the programs necessary to address it.”

UNDP Country Representative Ugo Blanco congratulated TT on achieving Tier 2 status.

“This is by no means an easy task and some underestimate the demands that each country must meet to achieve it.”

In his recommendations on fighting crime, Blanco said the department still had much work to do.

“There are three solutions to combating crime: education, employment and community.”