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“Trafficking in Persons: The Scale of the Challenge” Print E-mail
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Written by The Guardian   
Thursday, 10 May 2012 00:00

Belmopan, 7th May, 2012. On May 3rd and May 4th, 2012, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) facilitated a two-day colloquium for the Judges of the Supreme Court of Belize on the issue of trafficking in persons. The two-day colloquium had the following objectives:

•To broaden the knowledge of the Supreme Court Judges on the manifestations and current trends with regards to the crime of trafficking in persons in Belize.
•To provide a greater appreciation of the relationship between trafficking-in-persons and other forms of organized crime.
•To introduce the Judges of the Supreme Court to the proposed revision of the Trafficking-in-Persons (Prohibition) Act.
•To strengthen the understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of trafficking-in-persons.
•To present the various approaches to the investigation of trafficking in persons to provide an appreciation of the challenges for adjudication of trafficking-in-persons offences.
•To strengthen the understanding of the vulnerabilities of victims of trafficking in person crimes and the role of the judiciary in protecting vulnerable witnesses.
•To assess the role of the judiciary in protection of vulnerable persons from trafficking-in-person crimes.

The colloquium was chaired by the Hon. Chief Justice Dr. Kenneth Benjamin and facilitated by Mr. Paul Holmes, an expert on providing sensitization on this issues to High Court and Supreme Court Judges in the Commonwealth and in Latin America. Presentations were made on the role of the Anti-trafficking in Persons (ATIP) Committee of Belize by CEO Judith Alpuche, the Chairperson of the ATIP Committee. In addition, opening remarks were made by Deputy Solicitor General (Legislative Drafting) Ms. Michelle Daly on the seriousness and high priority with which the Attorney-General’s Ministry is treating the issue of trafficking in persons in Belize. Together with Deputy Solicitor General Iran Tillett-Dominguez, they also made presentations on the proposed revision of the existing Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2003.

IOM was represented by Project Coordinator, Ms. Diana Shaw and Regional Coordinator from the IOM Costa Rica, Dr. Ana Hidalgo. Dr. Hidalgo, in her welcome address, expressed appreciation for the time taken by of the Justices to attend and participate in this important and first ever colloquium on this issue for the Justices. Hon. Chief Justice Dr. Kenneth Benjamin commented on the importance and interest of the judiciary in understanding all aspects of trafficking-in-persons to strengthen the role of the Judiciary in the national counter-trafficking response.