St. Vincent and the Grenadines has maintained its Tier 2 ranking in the United States Department of State 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report, for the second consecutive year.

According to the State Department, Tier 2 ranking indicates that a government does not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards, but is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.

In the report released on June 28, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was commended for having increased its efforts to combat human trafficking.

According to the report “the government demonstrated increasing efforts by investigating more suspected cases, increasing training to relevant government officials and NGOs; increasing its cooperation with foreign governments to combat trafficking; and improving its public awareness campaigns.”

It said the government improved victim protection efforts, by having identified four potential labor trafficking victims from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2017, compared to three victims in 2016. It also noted that procedures existed to guide the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU), immigration department, and labor department in identifying and referring potential victims of trafficking.

This year’s Trafficking in Persons Report also made several recommendations to the government, including: the need to amend the trafficking law to remove sentencing provisions allowing fines in lieu of imprisonment; the need to increase government funding across all relevant agencies to combat human trafficking; and the need to implement the 2016-2020 National Action Plan.

The report also recommended an increase in investigations of suspected sex and labour trafficking cases; and prosecution and conviction of traffickers.

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