ORT urges Belize to work with US to address Human Trafficking

vlcsnap-2013-06-20-18h29m01s212This year, we have seen an increase in the detention of illegal immigrants busted on Belizean terrain. In fact, in May, three groups of Indian nationals were caught entering Belize’s western border, believed to have been enroute to the US. This trend begs the question – has Belize become the new transit tunnel for human trafficking? One organization seems to think so and in fact has been saying so for some time now. The Organization for Responsible Tourism in 2010, reported that “30 percent of human trafficking victims entering the US can be traced to Belize’s human trafficking superhighway.” The release by the organization continues “United Nations information and US Justice Department data combine to show most of the 5,500 US-bound human trafficking victims are from Central America, via Belize.” Organization for Responsible Tourism has been urging the Belize Government to work with the US Government to address the tide of human trafficking, especially since neighboring countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua have benefited from American guidance, improving and strengthening their borders in a Central American context. The organization has also made recommendations to the US Government on Belize’s behalf for the lending of immigration advice and expertise and project funding to Belize for state-of-the art equipment and infrastructure. Belize stands the risk of acquiring a Tier 3 status says the ORT. The Tier 3 according to the US Department of State, is used to describe countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and are not making significant efforts to do so. ORT states that both the US and Belize governments have much to gain by working together to address the absence of fundamental standards and regulation at the Belize borders.

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