Trinidad and Tobago

In Trinidad and Tobago, Free the Slaves is catalyzing change to eradicate modern slavery. Having inaugurated the Caribbean Regional Freedom From Slavery Forum in February 2023, we brought together an influential network of state, judicial, civil society, and academic leaders to tackle the multifaceted challenges of human trafficking and forced labor. Our ongoing strategy includes policy advocacy, notably encouraging the Trinidad and Tobago government to seek Pathfinder Country Status with Alliance 8.7. We are also forming strategic partnerships, offering specialized training via our Community Liberation Initiative (CLI) Toolkit, and continually facilitating regional forums to build a collaborative, effective movement against modern slavery.

Slaves in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago faces a significant challenge in combatting modern slavery. The Global Slavery Index 2022, estimated around 7,000 slaves among its 1,399,000 population. This translates to approximately 4.7 victims per 1,000 people. Although the government’s response to modern slavery is rated as B (2018), the country has been placed on the Tier 2 Watch List in the annual US Department of State’s Trafficking In Persons Report for three consecutive years, signifying ongoing concerns.

Various factors contribute to the existence of modern slavery in the country. These include a high demand for commercial sex, a geographical location near South America, and a history of being a drug transshipment point with established smuggling routes. Allegations of senior government officials’ involvement in criminal activities, including the sex trade, further exacerbate the issue. Additionally, the presence of tens of thousands of vulnerable migrants facing exploitation, unequal treatment, and marginalization compounds the challenges faced in tackling modern slavery in Trinidad and Tobago.

Year FTS started working in Trinidad and Tobago

Caribbean Regional Freedom From Slavery Forum

The first Caribbean Regional Freedom From Slavery Forum was held in Trinidad and Tobago in February 2023 and brought together regional stakeholders from State, judicial, civil society and academia. Together, stakeholders from around the Caribbean to discussed the most pressing issues of modern slavery and developed effective solutions. Over three days, the Caribbean Forum focused on the inclusion of survivors and indigenous people, as well as accessibility for people with disabilities in programs and policies targeting the factors that allow modern slavery to flourish in the region. Participants also discussed how to increase the number of perpetrators who are prosecuted, best practices for protecting survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking, and ensuring trauma-informed survivor engagement practices are used to create meaningful opportunities for survivors to contribute their expertise to the anti-modern slavery movement.

FTS Strategy for Trinidad and Tobago

Policy and Advocacy

Discussing with stakeholders lobbying the Trinidad and Tobago government to apply for Pathfinder Country Status with Alliance 8.7.

Partnerships and services

Seeking partnerships with key stakeholders including the International Office for Migration Country Office and civil society and other organisations.

Training and Capacity Building

We will offer training in the Community Liberation Initiative (CLI) Toolkit for stakeholders, covering prevention, prosecution, and protection, led by subject matter experts.

Movement Building

Regularly hosting the Caribbean Regional Freedom From Slavery Forum to bring together regional stakeholders from State, judicial, civil society and academia.

CSO Training Needs Assessment Survey

Global Slavery Index Regional Findings

US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report for Trinidad and Tobago – 2023

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2022

Smith Maximé

Caribbean Regional Director

Adrian Alexander

Advocacy and Movement Building Country Manager