The government maintained its prevention efforts. The attorney general led the government’s anti-trafficking task force, which met monthly and included permanent secretaries from several ministries. The task force’s primary accomplishment this year was to offer a comprehensive training and workshop for law enforcement, immigration officials, and members of non-profit organizations held in Barbados in February 2018. The Government of Barbados, recognizing that there are constraints on their national budget, worked with an external consultant and funder, to organize and offer the training. The training represented one of the most overarching interagency and civil society engagements to date: immigration, labor, education, police, NGOs, health, foreign affairs, information service and the child care board participated. Participants in the training discussed regional coordination as well and began working on the formulation of standard operating procedures based on lessons from regional partners, as presented by a longstanding anti-trafficking and law enforcement official from The Bahamas. The government did not finalize its national anti-trafficking action plan, the draft of which covers 2016 through 2020, but is working through its anti-trafficking task force to advance the plan. The government did not report funding levels for anti-trafficking efforts, although agencies cited a lack of resources, particularly financial, which hampered anti-trafficking efforts. The government was unable to conduct formal monitoring or data collection efforts during 2016 or 2017 due to budgetary constraints. The labor department regulated recruitment agencies under the Recruiting of Workers Act. According to government officials, however, the law did not identify the agency that should assume responsibility for the associated administrative and enforcement functions.
The government, in conjunction with NGOs, conducted 10 public awareness campaigns, which focused on both trafficking victims and on the demand for trafficking. These included spots on a local radio station, a mock UN Session during which students discussed human trafficking awareness, and presentations at various secondary schools. Additionally, participants in the February training from the Ministry of Education worked with a local NGO, Women of Purpose, to create a targeted outreach campaign to women over the radio focused on prevention and awareness to marginalized communities. Authorities, however, stated a need for a media campaign to increase awareness (print and electronic media), resources to develop an effective multi-media anti-trafficking product, and training to enable law enforcement and other government agencies to better identify victims of trafficking.