By KATHRYN CAMPBELL
Bahamas Information Services
THE Inter-Ministerial committee appointed to review the United States Government's 2011 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report on The Bahamas and to make recommendations on these matters to Cabinet held its inaugural meeting Wednesday.
The committee is made up of senior officials of ministries and agencies concerned with trafficking in persons, many of whom have been following such matters in regional and international forums.
The committee includes representatives of the Ministries of National Security, Foreign Affairs, Office of the Attorney General, Health, Labour and Social Development, Finance, the Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Forces and the Department of Immigration.
According to the US Department of State's website, the objective of the report is to raise global awareness regarding trafficking in persons, to spur countries to take effective action to counter this trafficking and to give guidance to governments to understand what is required to fight trafficking in persons.
A release from the Ministry of National Security states that in producing the report the United States Government seeks to encourage compliance with obligations arising from the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime.
The Bahamas was ranked as Tier 2 Watch List. The report uses a three Tier system to rank the efforts of countries worldwide, including those of the United States in countering trafficking in persons. The release states that this ranking is given to countries not fully in step with the minimum standards outlined in the United States Government's 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as amended, but that are making significant efforts to do so.
To carry out its mandate, the committee will hold consultations with Bahamian non-governmental organisations concerned with issues of trafficking in persons.
The committee will report to Cabinet ahead of the February interim assessment report to the United States Congress and preparation for the 2012 Report.