'Not everyone involved in transactional sex doing it willingly'

'Not everyone involved in transactional sex doing it willingly'

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — A senior Barbados government minister yesterday called for Caribbean countries to indicate the extent of human trafficking in the region, noting that the sex industry globally carries a price tag of US$16 billion annually.

"I don't have a sense as to the extent of the problem in Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados or Caricom (Caribbean Community)," said Home Affairs Minister Adriel Brathwaite, as he addressed the 'Maria Holder Memorial Trust Live Up: The Show' workshop organised by the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS.

Brathwaite, who is also chairman of the National Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking, said it was important for the Caribbean to know exactly the extent of human trafficking.

"We don't live in isolation, and we recognise that what is happening in the world must also be happening at our doorsteps," he said, warning that it would be "foolish" not to accept that Barbados and the Caribbean would have the same issues that were occurring across the world.

Brathwaite, who is also the attorney general, said the Caribbean was known for its sun, sea and sex, and pointed out that not everyone involved in transactional sex was doing it willingly, and illustrated the fact that some children were being exploited by family members as a form of income generation.

However, he advised those responsible for spreading the message to look at the forms of their messages, and seek out the young people.

"You need to go where they go — on Facebook, Twitter, at football games and karaoke sessions," he said, adding that teenage pregnancies showed that there was still a wide incidence of teenagers having unprotected sex.

"This is nothing new. We are seeing more openness among the young people, almost as if it is a right for them to be sexually active," he said, adding "it is in their faces all the time".

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