UNDP helps Government strategise against human trafficking

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds. – File photo by Angelo Marcelle

MINISTER of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds has received four strategic trafficking in persons reports from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to combat human trafficking through a multi-country initiative known as CariSecure 2.0.

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

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

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

Previously, Trinidad and Tobago remained on the Tier 2 Watch List on the Traffic In Persons report for three years consecutively before being upgraded to Tier 2 in June.

Hinds said the collaboration between the UNDP and National Security had five aims, the first of which targeted youth involvement in crime.

He took the opportunity to remind the public of his ministry’s recently launched anti-crime initiative, a $30,000 song competition titled Called to Order.

The competition will span three months and will see youths creating their own lyrics, using the instrumentals from The Call by Isasha, Mr King, Ziggy Ranking, Prophet Benjamin and King David calling for an end to gang violence.

“We would have sensitised the youths of the need to walk away from the life of crime and criminal activity to the more positive pathways.”

Hinds said the ministry’s second aim was to examine TT’s trafficking in persons efforts.

“In respect of the wider Caribbean, we have taken note that Guyana and Suriname are regarded as two states that are fully compliant and we are working to do what we can to sit beside those two states.”

The third aim identified in the project looked at capacity-building efforts led by the Counter-Trafficking Unit to use evidence-based approaches.

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

The fourth objective of the report aimed to identify the root cause of crime in youths; a task he described as “most difficult.”

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

The fifth aim was targeted as the design and implementation of policies, strategies and interventions to combat human trafficking.

“Once we determine the root cause, we can put the necessary programmes in place to ameliorate them.”

UNDP country representative Ugo Blanco commended TT for achieving Tier 2 status.

“It is, by no means, an easy feat and there are those who underestimate the requirements every country must meet to get there.”

In his recommendations on the fight against crime, Blanco said the ministry still had much work to do.

“There are three solutions to fighting crime: education, jobs and community.”