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By Lesroy W. Williams

Observer Reporter

(Basseterre, St. Kitts) – The 21st century version of slavery is the target of a bill introduced at the Federation’s National Assembly earlier this week

At a sitting of the National Assembly on Tuesday, Aug. 26, the Federal Government of St .Kitts and Nevis introduced a bill to prevent, punish and suppress the trafficking of humans with particular regard to women and children.

Prime Minister Denzil Douglas said that while St. Kitts and Nevis was not traditionally known to be a destination for trafficked victims, there has been some evidence that attempts have been made to use the twin-island Federation as a transit point for that type of offence.

Against the backdrop of the Emancipation Act of 1833, Prime Minister Douglas said that the tyranny of human trafficking will never be allowed in this country.

Human trafficking is a crime against humanity and within the 21st century it is the new face of slavery, Dr. Douglas said.

“Human trafficking has been termed globally the greatest evil of our time. Many men, women and children are trafficked from various parts of the world with promises of a better life. They are appearing in all parts of the world, some as sex slaves, some of them providing child labour against their will and some of them being used in child pornography. We are saying that this country of St. Kitts and Nevis shall never be a part of this in any form,” Dr. Douglas stated.

The Trafficking in Persons Prevention Bill 2008 stands in the name of Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Denzil Douglas. It was given its first reading on August 26.

It points out that that act of human trafficking is seen as intricately linked to drug trafficking, money laundering and possible acts of terrorism.

Part one of the bill deals with interpretation of commonly used terms for the purpose of combating trafficking.

Clause three of the bill deals with criminalizing those involved in the act of trafficking persons and the masterminds behind it who are just as blameworthy.

Clause four speaks to the illegality of withholding the travel and identification documents of persons with the objective of controlling and restricting their free movement as an offense.

Clause six of the bill gives the court the power to order the perpetrator to compensate the victim and outlined the terms of doing so.

Clauses 16, 17, and 18 provide for the protection and assistance of victims and clause 19 makes provisions for the treatment of victims who are children.

Clause 21 of the bill empowers the relevant minister to appoint a special task force committee to administer the various provisions of the bill, while Clause 23 deals with regulations.

“We have said to the world that never again will we allow in any way the atrocities that have been committed against our forefathers to be committed anywhere to anyone with the knowledge and worst still consent and assistance of a progressive government like this one,” Dr. Douglas said.

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