Belize hosts judges colloquium on trafficking in persons

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BELMOPAN, Belize — Last week, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) facilitated a two day colloquium for the judges of the Supreme Court of Belize on the issue of trafficking in persons.

The two day colloquium had the following objectives:

• To broaden the knowledge of the Supreme Court judges on the manifestations and currents trends with regards to the crime of trafficking in persons in Belize.

• To provide a greater appreciation of the relationship between trafficking in per-sons and other forms of organized crime.

• To introduce the judges of the Supreme Court to the proposed revision of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Act.

• To strengthen the understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of trafficking in persons.

• To present the various approaches to the investigation of trafficking in persons to provide an appreciation of the challenges for adjudication of trafficking in persons offences.

• To strengthen the understanding of the vulnerabilities of victims of trafficking in person crimes and the role of the judiciary in protecting vulnerable witnesses.

• To assess the role of the judiciary in protection of vulnerable persons from trafficking in person crimes.

The colloquium was chaired by Chief Justice Dr Kenneth Benjamin and facilitated by Paul Holmes, an expert on providing sensitization on these issues to high court and supreme court judges in the Commonwealth and in Latin America.

IOM was represented by project coordinator, Diana Shaw, and regional coordinator from the IOM Costa Rica, Dr Ana Hidalgo.

Hidalgo in her welcome address expressed appreciation for the time set taken by the members of the judiciary to attend and participate in this important and first ever colloquium on this issue.

For the justices, Benjamin commented on the importance and interest of the judiciary in understanding all aspects of trafficking in persons to strengthen the role of the judiciary in the national counter-trafficking response.

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