Trinidad to host regional anti-slavery forum

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo/ Jeff K Mayers

THIS country will host the Caribbean Regional Freedom from Slavery forum, bringing together anti-modern slavery stakeholders for discussions.

A media release from Adrian Alexander, advocacy and movement building country manager of Free The Slaves TT, said survivors, government representatives, civil society, researchers, judges, and representatives of international organisations will meet in Port of Spain between February 6 and 8 to discuss pressing issues and potential solutions

The theme is: Enabling local engagement and global synergies to address modern slavery in the Caribbean.

Since 2013, this forum has served as a space for leaders of the anti-slavery movement to develop a shared agenda for potential action, the release said.

A grassroots space, the forum evolved into one that brings together stakeholders in the fight against modern slavery. As the forum marks its tenth anniversary, the 2023 edition focuses on survivors, the disabled, indigenous people in the anti-modern slavery movement, as well as accessibility for all people in programmes and policies targeting the factors that allow modern slavery to flourish.

“Participants will discuss how to increase the number of prosecuted perpetrators, best practices for protecting survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking, and ensuring trauma-informed survivor engagement practices are used to create meaningful opportunities for survivors to contribute their expertise to the anti-modern slavery movement,” Alexander said.

In the last four years, estimates indicate that the number of people trapped in modern forms of slavery increased by ten million to 50 million. Many are forced to work against their will, or into non-consensual marriages.

Temporary crises such as covid, climate change, armed conflicts, and general instability of the global system have exacerbated all forms of modern slavery, the release said. Globally, people experience modern slavery and the Caribbean is not exempt.

The Caribbean regional forum is the last of six in total, the others having concerned Latin America, North America and Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and Asia.

“The regional forums explore and define key strategies for local engagements, identify the best approaches to revitalise the movement and increase resilience and resistance, and determine the ways in which these engagements may inform the global synergies for addressing modern slavery,” the release said.

A global forum will be convened in the Dominican Republic in May which will also celebrate the forum’s ten-year anniversary. For those not in attendance, the event will be live-streamed via Zoom.