Bahamas

National Authority Contact Information

National Legislation

  1. The Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act 2008, adopts the broad definition of “Trafficking in Persons” set out in the 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Girls, supplementing the United Nations Convention on Transnational Crime. The Act specifically prohibits trafficking in persons in all aspects, and is applicable to men, women and children.

  2. The Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2011 includes as “Qualifying Offences” crimes committed under the 2008 Trafficking in Persons Act. The Criminal Evidence (Witness Anonymity) Act 2011 also provides for the protection of the identity of witnesses during the investigation of criminal offences and during criminal proceedings and matters connected therewith. In addition, the 2008 Trafficking in Persons Act also allows for cases to be tried in camera to protect victims of trafficking in persons who are witnesses in cases before the court.

  3. The Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act, 2011 (Section 185), which allows the Court to receive any relevant representation from the victim before handing down a sentence is applicable in respect of victims under The Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act 2008. Specific provisions under the 2008 Trafficking in Persons Act also allow victims to make impact statements.

Public Policies and National Programs

  1. The Justice Protection Act 2006 established the Witness Protection Programme. Victims of trafficking in persons who are witnesses or potential witnesses to an offence charged under The Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act 2008 may be considered for entry into the Witness Protection Programme, if such victims are at risk for having violence perpetrated against them.

  2. The Witness Care Programme launched by the Government in February 2011, which is managed through the Witness Care Unit (WCU) of the Office of the Attorney General, serves as a single point of contact for victims of crime, including victims of trafficking in persons. The WCU provides information to victims about the progress of their cases at every stage of the criminal justice system. It also provides a wide range of support services to victims and their families.

  3. The Government’s Inter-Ministry Committee on Trafficking in Persons (TIP Committee), which commenced its functions in November 2011, is the coordinating body for policy matters relating to trafficking in persons. The TIP Committee is comprised of senior Government officials from the Ministries of National Security, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Ministry of Social Services (Bureau of Women’s Affairs), Health and the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Police Force, the Defence Force, the Department of Immigration and the Customs Department. Non-Governmental and Faith-based organizations are invited to participate in the work of the Committee. The TIP Committee makes policy recommendations to Government to strengthen national initiatives to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons.

  4. The Trafficking in Persons Task Force (TIP Task Force) was established in March 2012, as an operational body to address trafficking in persons cases, from the identification of a victim to the prosecution of an alleged trafficker. Government Ministries/Agencies that comprise the Task Force are: the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Ministries of National Security, Foreign Affairs, Health and Social Services, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Department of Immigration, and the Customs Department. TIP Task Force members also include Representatives from concerned non-governmental, community and faith-based organizations.

  5. The Specialized Team of Prosecutors for  Trafficking in Persons Matters in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs works closely with the TIP Task Force, and in particular with Police Force investigators from the identification of a trafficking victim, so as to prepare appropriately for the successful prosecution of the alleged trafficker(s).

  6. The Sexual Offences Unit, Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), is a specialized Unit with established procedures for dealing with victims of sexual crimes including victims and potential victims of trafficking for the exploitation of the prostitution of others. There is a Specialized Team of Prosecutors in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs which gives legal advice to the RPPF Sexual Offences Unit during the course of investigations, to assess the cogency and admissibility of the evidence collected for trial.

  7. The Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s Recruits Trafficking Awareness Training is specifically structured to provide knowledge on the Protocol on the Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Girls, and to provide experience in victim identification. The awareness programme is being extended to all Training Exercises throughout the Force.

  8. The Partnership between the Bureau of Women’s Affairs (Ministry of Social Services) and The Crisis Centre (a Non-Governmental Organization) establishes the Centre as a focal point for victims of trafficking in persons. The Crisis Centre operates a hotline for victims of domestic violence, which is also available to victims of trafficking in persons. The Government provides an annual subsidy to The Crisis Centre.

  9. Counter Trafficking in Persons Workshops: the Bureau of Women’s Affairs (Ministry of Social Services) in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have hosted a series of Workshops in keeping with the Governments initiatives for capacity building in this area.

  10. Public Service Announcements (PSA) are being prepared by the Bureau of Women’s Affairs (Ministry of Social Services) to raise awareness of trafficking in persons.

  11. The Links Safe House, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) residential facility which provides shelter for victims of domestic violence, is also open to victims or potential victims of trafficking in persons. The Links Safe House is provided an annual subsidy by Government.  Support services for victims or potential victims of trafficking in persons may also be provided by The Red Cross and a range of Faith-Based Organizations.

  12. The Government is in the process of preparing a National Plan against Trafficking in Person. Aspects of this draft Plan, including guidelines for Officials in anti-trafficking activities, are already being widely implemented in activities to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons.

Immigration Regulations

  1. The Model Joint Screening Form of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization on Migration (IOM) are among the documents Department of Immigration uses to identify and screen victims and potential victims of trafficking in persons, particularly in migratory flows.