Mesdames et messieurs les représentants du Comité National sur la Lutte contre le Traites des Personnes,
Mesdames et messieurs les représentants du secteur judicial et du Chapitre Haïtien de l’Association Internationale des Femmes Juges,
Mesdames at messieurs les représentants de la Police Nationale d’Haiti,
Mesdames et messieurs
Je suis très honorée d’être parmi vous aujourd’hui.
Thank you for coming here today to discuss a global challenge that preys on the vulnerable namely- trafficking in persons.
As you all know, the Department of State uses the “four P” model to fight human trafficking – prevention, prosecution, protection, and partnership.
Today, we have brought together judges, lawyers, police officers, and members of the national anti-trafficking committee to discuss how the government of Haiti can work together to more effectively create prosecutions that result in convictions.
No one individual or entity can combat this scourge alone. It takes trained and dedicated people from various government entities to prevent trafficking in persons, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers. This is a whole of government approach.
I hope that during today’s workshop, not only will you share your personal role in the fight against human trafficking, but also that you and your colleagues will discuss means to support each other’s work. From investigation, to arrest, to prosecution, to conviction, we must look at every step of the judicial process to make sure we bring justice for victims of human trafficking.
Convictions are crucial to ensuring that human traffickers cannot carry out their crimes with impunity. However, we must also ensure that victims of this terrible crime are treated with respect, care, and dignity. I hope that during the workshop you can discuss ways to ensure that victims can safely participate in the legal process against their abusers without disrupting their own journey of healing.
In our 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, Haiti was ranked as Tier 3 – the lowest rating – for its efforts to fight human trafficking. Last year, after Haiti’s first three successful human trafficking convictions, Haiti was upgraded to the Tier 2 watch list.
However, this year there has only been one successful conviction. We know that some investigations and prosecutions are underway, but we do not want to lose the momentum built by the work that many of you have put into this fight.
Haitians are counting on you to protect the vulnerable. You have chosen this profession to protect Haitians. We are proud to be your partners moving forward on this important issue, and hope this exchange will be the first of many to strengthen the collaboration between you all.
Je vous remercie.