Raid on bars for human trafficking victims Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 June 2017 00:00

For the past few days, the Immigration Department has been conducting raids all over the country to investigate female immigrant workers employed at bars all over the country. On Tuesday, there were a total of 31 of these “bar girls” who were detained and being held at police stations in Dangriga and Punta Gorda. 3 of the bar owners visited have been also been held.

Immigration Director Diana Lock has confirmed that these are part of four operations being undertaken countrywide to crack down on this so-called “bar girl” phenomenon. None of the women have since been identified as human trafficking victims, but they are in Belize illegally. Additionally, they have been working at these bars without temporary work permits, and several of the detainees have admitted to being in Belize illegally. Most have already been arraigned at the PG, Independence and Dangriga Magistrate’s Courts.

Immigration officers conducted operations in Cayo, Belmopan, and Belize City, where a number of the offenders were fined. A total of 22 of these “bar girls” have been convicted and deported. 4 employers caught in those raids were also charged for employing illegal immigrant workers.

Though, these women were the ones caught up in the raids, the Immigration Department was looking for possible instances of human trafficking.