[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

THE BAHAMAS (Tier 1) Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report - The Bahamas

The Government of The Bahamas fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.  The government continued to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore The Bahamas remained on Tier 1.  These efforts included convicting and sentencing a trafficker to imprisonment and making efforts to provide restitution to a repatriated foreign victim.  The government also adopted legislation to allow victims to testify remotely, including from overseas; provided continued support for foreign victims repatriated abroad; and cooperated with a neighboring country to repatriate three victims.  It also trained high-level officials, including five new members of the Trafficking in Persons Task Force (Task Force), and new labor inspectors; carried out more awareness raising; created new hotlines to report trafficking cases; and solicited feedback from underserved groups on anti-trafficking policies.  Although the government meets the minimum standards, it did not initiate any prosecutions, continued to identify few victims, and did not provide investigative data.

Prioritized Recommendations

Increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers, including officials complicit in sex or labor trafficking, and seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms.

Improve efforts to identify victims and refer them to services, particularly among vulnerable groups, including underserved stateless persons; migrants and asylum-seekers from Haiti, Jamaica, and Venezuela; LGBTQI+ individuals; and Cuban nationals working on government-sponsored programs.

Reduce delays in court proceedings.

Ensure the process to find alternate housing for at-risk communities does not create additional vulnerabilities and continue to train surveyors to identify trafficking victims.

Include Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking services on the trafficking hotline.

Remove a requirement for migrants switching jobs to obtain a letter of release from their employer, take steps to eliminate recruitment fees charged to workers by labor recruiters, and ban employee-paid recruitment fees.

Provide a dedicated shelter for trafficking victims.

Include representatives of LGBTQI+ groups, Haitian and stateless persons, and foreign diplomatic missions as appropriate in discussions with the National Trafficking in Persons Inter-Ministerial Committee (Anti-Trafficking Committee).

Improve regular investigative data collection and record keeping.

Establish a robust monitoring and evaluation framework for anti-trafficking policies and efforts and consult survivors on policies.

Ensure the Ministry of Immigration digitally shares all official communications and documentation with employer and employee.