Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is trafficking in persons?
Trafficking in Persons occurs when someone by use of threat, force, or other means of coercion, or by abduction, fraud, deception or abuse of power takes a person from one place to another (across borders or domestically), harbours or receives that person, in order to exploit them usually for monetary gain.
Anyone, including, women, men or children, rich or poor can be tricked into becoming victims of trafficking in persons.
  1. Is trafficking persons a crime in The Bahamas?
Yes. Trafficking in persons is a criminal offence in The Bahamas.
The Bahamas Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act, 2008 is a comprehensive and wide-ranging piece of legislation, which, among others, criminalises trafficking in persons, and prescribes strict penalties for all aspects of the crime, including withholding of travel documents and work permits. The legislation contains the full range of protection for victims of trafficking, including exemption from customary immigration sanctions.
Persons convicted of trafficking in persons offences under this law may receive a punishment of a fine of up to $15,000 and/or three years to life imprisonment.
  1. What are forms of trafficking in persons?
Sexual exploitation (examples, forced prostitution, pornography, striptease)
Forced labour (examples, construction, agriculture, fisheries, garment-making, auto-machinery, begging)
Domestic Servitude in private homes or shops (housekeeping, maid)
  1. Who can be victims of trafficking in persons?
Victims can be male or female, adult or child, rich or poor. According to international reports by related, international bodies, women and girls are the largest share of trafficked victims.
The Bahamas 2008 Trafficking in Persons (Prevention and Suppression) Act defines a victim as follows: “ ‘victim’ means the person in respect of whom the offence of trafficking in persons is committed….”
  1. What are the causes of trafficking in persons?
Root causes often differ from country to country. They are driven by social, economic, cultural or other factors including the following:

– Poverty
– Abuse
– Lack of employment
– Lack of educational opportunities
– Social conflicts
– Political conflicts

  1. Who are traffickers in persons?
Traffickers in persons may work alone or they may be a part of an organised network or group.
They may be male or female.
Traffickers in persons may be strangers as well as family members, neighbors or friends.
  1. How do I recognise a victim of trafficking in persons?

– Look for unusual behaviour in children and young persons under 18 years.
– Have they left their home and moved to another location?
– Are there any visible signs of abuse, injury or fear?
– Does the person avoid eye contact?
– Do they stay out late, maybe working at a shop or restaurant, or do not attend school?
– Are they addicted to drugs?
– Do they have sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS?
– Have you noticed them receiving unexplained telephone calls?
– Are they being controlled with violence and threats?
– Do they rarely appear alone?
– Are they not in control of their own documents such as passport and ID cards?
– Do they manage their own money? Are they paid for their work or paid very little?
– Are they a stranger in their own community?

  1. What are the ways to avoid becoming a victim of trafficking in persons?
Do not trust offers of employment that seem “to good to be true”; that is, they require little or no qualifications and promise high salaries and great benefits
Carry out background checks, that is contact the relevant Government agency in the country where the job is advertised to confirm that the company and its offer is legitimate
Attend educational sessions and other activities to become informed about trafficking in persons
  1. Who can I call for help?
If you feel that you are a victim of trafficking in persons or suspect that someone you know may be a victim, please do not hesitate to call the below listed numbers/agencies.

  • The National Hotline at 322-2763 or 422-2763
  • The Crisis Centre Hotline at 328-0922
  • The Police at 919/911
  • The Ministry of National Security 502-3300

You will find confidential, sensitive professionals who are waiting to assist you.