More changes to strenghthen Human trafficking laws

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The government will be making further changes to the Trafficking in Persons Prevent Act to make it harder for offenders to escape justice.
Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, national security minister, made the disclosure over the weekend, following an operation on Friday in which 19 potential victims of human trafficking and four other persons were picked up from two night clubs.
“We definitely are going to strengthen the laws to make certain that there are no such difficulties taking place in Antigua and Barbuda.
“In the past, we went to Parliament to make certain that persons who have been found committing these offences can be brought to justice, either before the Magistrate Court or the High Court,” minister Benjamin said during an interview on the weekend.
He also revealed that recently a secretariat was established to monitor cases of human trafficking in Antigua and Barbuda.
The joint operation on Friday was executed on two establishments – the Jam Dung Night Club and Wendy’s Bar and Restaurant.
According to a news release, the joint operation dubbed “the rescue mission”, targeted establishments based on information of possible unlawful activities relating to human trafficking and other offences.
At the end of the operations, a total of 19 potential victims were identified and four persons are assisting with the ongoing investigations.
The joint operation included members from the Ministry of Health, the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, the Ministry of Public Safety and Labour, the Immigration Department, the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP), the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF), and the Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
According to a source close to the operation, 11 of the potential female victims were taken from Wendy’s Bar and Restaurant and eight from the Jam Dung Night Club.
Minister Benjamin said while the issue of human trafficking is not rampant in the country, it must be addressed before it escalates.

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