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6/7/2006

U.S. Gives Belize Thumbs Down for Human Trafficking

Filed under: belize — admin @ 4:55 pm

The government has enacted laws, empowered a task force, performed raids, charged traffickers…all that, but the U.S. State Department says this country is still not doing enough to curb human trafficking. A release issued yesterday by the U.S. State Department singles out three countries in the Americas, and its bad news for Belize that it now gets groups with the tow fiercest opponents of the United States, Venezuela and Cuba.

According to the U.S., “Belize, Cuba, and Venezuela…are not meeting minimum standards to fight trafficking in persons, a criminal practice which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says is “more than a human rights objective; it is a matter of global security.” Belize is now placed on what is called a tier 3 list, meaning that their governments are not fully complying with the minimum standards against trafficking in persons, and are not “making significant efforts to do so.” According to the release, the placement is based more on the extent of the government’s action (or inaction) to combat trafficking, rather than the size of the problem.

The report concludes that women and girls are trafficked to Belize and exploited in prostitution, while children are trafficked there for labor exploitation. It states that Belize failed to “show evidence of significant law enforcement or victim protection efforts” in 2005, and that the country’s laws against trafficking remained “weak and largely un-enforced.”

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