THE BAHAMAS LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK
The Bahamas 2008 Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act governs trafficking in persons in The Bahamas. The Bahamas adopted the important piece of legislation in 2008. During the same year it ratified the 2000 United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; which supplements the United Nations Convention on Transnational Crime.
The Bahamas 2008 Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act is a comprehensive and wide-ranging piece of legislation, which, among others, criminalises trafficking in persons, and prescribes strict penalties for all aspects of the crime, including withholding of travel documents and work permits. The legislation contains the full range of protection for victims of trafficking, including exemption from customary immigration sanctions.
NATIONAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING STRATEGY
The Government of The Bahamas, as part of its anti-trafficking measures, has produced a comprehensive national anti-trafficking strategy called, The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas National Anti-Trafficking in Persons Strategy 2014-2018. The Strategy is intended to engender common understanding and coordinated action among stakeholders and actors, and ensure the financial support of local and international donors. It is structured on the strategic and operational levels and reflects the guiding principles of Bahamas efforts to combat trafficking in persons including civil society participation, observance of human rights, interdisciplinary and cross-sectorial approaches and Government ownership.
NATIONAL BODIES ON TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
The Inter-Ministry Committee on Trafficking in Persons, which commenced its functions on 30 November 2011, is the coordinating body for policy matters relating to trafficking in persons in The Bahamas. As such, it, among others, provides advice on trafficking matters and makes recommendations to strengthen national anti-trafficking initiatives through the identification of training opportunities, public awareness raising activities, engagement of relevant stakeholders including civil society organisations, and fulfilling the international obligations of The Bahamas as they relate to trafficking in persons.
The Trafficking in Persons Task Force was established in March 2012. It is an operational body that addresses trafficking in persons cases, from prevention activities to detection of victims, from victim assistance to the prosecution of suspected traffickers.
A Special Prosecutorial Unit on Trafficking in Persons was established in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs to work closely with the Task Force, and in particular with Royal Bahamas Police Force investigators, relative to trafficking in persons cases.
The Trafficking in Persons Unit is a specialised unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, which investigates suspected trafficking in persons cases and engages all key parties when trafficking in persons matters are brought to its attention.