By: JONATHAN ROBERTS
The Human Trafficking Institute welcomed a delegation from Belize to Washington, D.C. on August 16-17, for an anti-trafficking roundtable.
The two-day event focused on approaches to combat human trafficking in Belize and provided the opportunity to exchange best practices. It consisted of meetings with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Belize delegation included Minister of Human Development Anthony Martinez, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith, Assistant Police Commissioner Noel Miguel Leal, and Judith Alpuche, Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation. Emil Waight, Minister Counselor at the Belize Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Amb. Daniel Gutierrez, Ambassador of Belize to the United States, also participated.
The delegation discussed ways to specifically combat human trafficking with experts from the FBI’s Civil Rights Unit, the Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, Diplomatic Security Service, and the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Additionally, Ambassador Gutierrez, Minister Martinez, and Attorney General Peyrefitte met with U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Robert Hur, Principle Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
In the 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, released annually by the U.S. Department of State, Belize was classified as a “Tier 3” country, stating it “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.” This roundtable is one of multiple actions the Belizean government is taking to change their ranking and to fight trafficking in their country.