Bahamian officials trained to identify and interview victims of human trafficking

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The Warnath Group delivered an interactive and specialized two-day workshop on operationalizing the victim-centered approach in the identification and interview stages of human trafficking cases to officials of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas in Nassau May 18-19, 2016.

Sheila Berman, Warnath Group Senior Advisor on Law & Policy, and Warnath Group Experts Florrie Burke and Albert Moskowitz led the workshop.  Prior to the workshop, the trainers held meetings with members of the Bahamian TIP Task Force to gain the benefit of the officials’ first-hand knowledge of the Bahamian legal system, assess needs, and to provide technical assistance on standard operating procedures for labor officials, police and prosecutors.

The workshop participants, who included police, prosecutors, medical staff, immigration officers, social service providers, NGOs, labor inspectors, naval defense personnel, educators and members of the Ministry of National Security, hailed from across the Commonwealth, including the Family Islands.  Also in attendance was Under Secretary Karen Rigby, who serves as chair of the National TIP Committee, and was recently named a TIP Hero by the U.S. Department of State in its Trafficking in Persons Report, 2016.

Eucal Bonaby, Senior Counsel, Office of the Attorney General and Neda Brown, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy gave remarks at the opening ceremony.  Under Secretary Karen Rigby introduced the Minister of National Security, The Honorable Dr. Bernard Nottage, M.P. who spoke about trafficking in persons, the importance of the TIP committee, the work of the Task Force and expressed appreciation to the Warnath Group and the U.S. Embassy for providing the workshop in Nassau.  Mr. Bonaby also later served as the local legal expert during the law module by giving an overview of the National TIP Law.

The workshop focused on domestic and international TIP law, victim identification, indicators of human trafficking, and victim interviewing.  Individual and group exercises that included case studies were woven throughout the modules providing opportunities for the participants to apply their own knowledge to the new skills and techniques taught.  These interactive exercises also created a unique environment where the participants, who represented a diverse and comprehensive cross section of those working on human trafficking issues in the Bahamas, could exchange ideas and learn from each other.

At the close of the successful workshop, participants reported that they were pleased to have had the opportunity to learn new professional anti-trafficking tools, skills and strategies within a conceptual and practical framework that would enable them to more effectively identify and address human trafficking cases.  The Warnath Group has continued contact with the Bahamas Training participants since the workshop, and will maintain these relationships via customized communications and webpages.  Additionally, the Warnath Group is continuing its technical assistance work with the TIP Task Force to strengthen standard operating procedures.  This workshop was made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP), and with the help of the U.S. Embassy to the Bahamas, Nassau.

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