Belize Officials Seek Victim-Centered Approach to Anti-Trafficking Work

BY: JONATHAN ROBERTS

Belize City, Belize—Over 65 Belize government officials gathered earlier this month to improve victim-centered techniques in anti-trafficking investigations. They received training from the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations on forensic interviewing for victims of human trafficking.

The Human Trafficking Institute, in coordination with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, shared best practices on how to identify and successfully interact with victims of human trafficking. The U.S. embassy states, “these best practices will contribute to successful criminal cases against perpetrators of these offenses.”

The Belize officials came from five different agencies: Human Services, Police, Immigration, Customs, and the Department of Public Prosecutions.

Judith Alpuche, CEO of the Belize Ministry of Human Development, made the following statement to 7 News Belize on eliminating human trafficking in the country:

“We are continuing on the road of ensuring that we address human trafficking. We cannot manufacture arrests. We cannot manufacture victims. We deal with it as we see it.”

Currently, Belize is classified by the U.S. State Department as a Tier 3 country for human trafficking. By improving victim identification and interviewing methods, the Belize government hopes to progress to Tier 2.

The Human Trafficking Institute is working with the Government of Belize to better identify and prosecute traffickers in the country, moving upstream to stop modern slavery at its source.

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Jonathan Roberts

Prior to his role at the Institute, Jonathan was a Research Fellow at the Greater Mekong Research Center, a public policy think-tank in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There, he conducted research on the political economy and development outlook of Southeast Asia. He is particularly interested in institutional reform and the rule of law in developing countries. Jonathan holds degrees from Seattle Pacific University and the Université Lumière Lyon II in France. He speaks English and French.