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United States upgrade Belize’s Trafficking in Persons ranking

Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2022. 9:29 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize has moved up the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons listing to Tier 2, as the country has been found to be demonstrating “overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, and considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity.”

Belize was previously ranked on the Tier 2 Watch List for not fully meeting the minimum standards of the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 for the elimination of trafficking but making significant efforts to meet them.

The 22nd Annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) cited key achievements in Belize as follows: “…convicting two traffickers and applying adequate sentences; expanding the size of its Anti-Trafficking (A-TIP) Police Unit, which increased investigations; improving data collection and case monitoring; opening a shelter for unaccompanied children at risk for trafficking in cooperation with an international organization; and prioritizing anti-trafficking funding and implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP).”

Belmopan is pleased and recognized that more still needs to be done.

In a statement, the Government of Belize recognized the Anti-Trafficking in Persons (ATIPS) Council, chaired by the Ministry of Human Development, Families, and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and comprising government and non-government entities, which remains focused on improving coordination and collaboration on protection, prosecution, prevention, and partnerships.

The ministry thanks the ATIPS Council members, collaborating authorities, NGO and civil society partners, and the international community, for their dedication and hard work which have contributed to this upgrade in rank. With renewed vigor and strengthened partnerships, the government will continue its efforts in earnest, taking into consideration the recommendations outlined in the Trafficking in Persons Report as Belize strives to eliminate trafficking and its dehumanizing effects on victims.

 

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