THE Department of Home Affairs and National Security is alerting Saint Lucians to certain implications of the Coronavirus pandemic saying that the pandemic could lead to increase cases of human trafficking globally.
The Department notes that Saint Lucia is no exception to the crisis that confronts the world currently and could attract the perpetrators of the gruesome crime of sexual and labour exploitation.
“In as much as things are difficult for many of us and we definitely need to have a job and income for survival, let us do our best to remain safe from exploitation and to ensure that no one becomes a victim of human trafficking. Now is not the time to go into any situation blindly because there is more risk involved,” noted Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, Senator Hermangild Francis, who also called on Saint Lucians to be vigilant, particularly when exploring new prospects overseas.
Organizations such as the US State Department in its 2020 Report on Human Trafficking had raised concerns on the impact of the pandemic on human rights and on vulnerable populations.
Global trends have shown that dramatic increases in job losses and reductions in income, especially for tourism sector workers, and many other low wage employees could mean that significant numbers of people who were already vulnerable, find themselves in even more precarious circumstances.
In regards to Trafficking In Persons (TIP), traffickers are said to be adjusting their business models to the ‘new normal’ created by the pandemic, especially through the abuse of modern communications technologies.
In Saint Lucia, the hotline for reporting any suspected cases of Trafficking In Persons is 847. The authorities are encouraging the public to use this hotline number to report any suspected cases of human trafficking.