Belize Still Experiencing Challenges with Human Trafficking

Belize Still Experiencing Challenges with Human Trafficking

Also during his presentation, Minister Courtenay spoke of the challenges that Belize is facing regarding human trafficking. 

Hon. Eamon Courtenay, Senator for Government Business: “We advanced in the digitization of asylum seekers system and we continue to work with the National Intelligence Committee, the Joint Intelligence Operation Committee, the Anti Trafficking in Persons Committee and The Attorney General’s Ministry of Matters of Mutual Legal Assistance. The ministry regularly participates in joint patrols analyzing migration data and trends as we fight to reduce human trafficking and smuggling. Madam president I take this opportunity to say publicly the Government of Belize is concerned, very concerned about the amount of human smuggling occurring through Belize. Cabinet was informed yesterday Madam President based on data in our possession of a magnitude of the problem. Cabinet was informed of the countries that were of high interest and certain measures were taken. First Cabinet authorized the re-imposition of visa requirements on Haitians coming to Belize. Secondly a task force was established, authorized to be established with the Ministry of Immigration, Ministry of National Defence and Border Security, the Ministry of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries and the Ministry of Tourism to look at the data. Madam President, we are in possession of data that shows the hotels that are regularly used, the vehicles that are regularly used, the telephone numbers of the persons who regularly turn up at the Philip Goldson International Airport to collect persons and carry them to certain hotels and move them through this country. We have the data in our possession and that task force will be tasked with preparing a plan to stem the use of Belize as a transit point. And thirdly Madam President we have noticed a significant increase in the amount of Jamaicans using Belize as a transit point to go north. We have been authorized in consultation with the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Immigration to look at measures short of a visa requirement to be put in place to address that issue. I will add this Madam President, there is an inordinate number of Brazilians purporting to come to Belize for tourist purposes. The numbers do not reflect a match between those who come and those who leave so where are they ?”

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