By Dialogo August 08, 2013 In February 2013 the government enacted the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Act which prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes punishments of one to eight years’ imprisonment, up to 12 years’ imprisonment if the victim is a child, and up to 25 years’ imprisonment in cases involving sexual assault or other aggravating circumstances. This law repealed and replaced the government’s previous anti-trafficking law. Notably, the new law elevated the offense of trafficking from a “summary offence” tried in the lower courts to an indictable offense tried before the Supreme Court. The prescribed maximum penalty of eight years’ imprisonment, up to 25 years’ imprisonment in some cases, is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes. During the reporting period, the government also passed the 2013 Commercial Sexual Exploitation Children (Prohibition) Act that criminalizes the facilitation of prostitution of children under 18 years of age. Additionally, sex trafficking and forced labor of Belizean and foreign women and girls, primarily from Central America, occurs in bars, nightclubs, and brothels throughout the country. Children and adults working in the agricultural and fishing sectors in Belize are vulnerable to forced labor. Forced labor has been identified in the service sector among the South Asian and Chinese communities in Belize, primarily in restaurants and shops with owners from the same country. In terms of prevention, the government continued to coordinate Belize’s anti-trafficking programs through an anti-trafficking committee of 13 agencies and NGOs chaired by a senior Ministry of Human Development official. During the year, the committee released a 2012-2014 anti-trafficking national strategic plan, which outlined steps to guide, monitor, and evaluate the government’s anti-trafficking efforts. The recently passed anti-trafficking law institutionalized interagency cooperation on trafficking in Belize by formalizing the role and responsibilities of the anti-trafficking coordination committee. The government continued its awareness campaign in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Hindi. The report recommends that Belize proactively implement the recently passed anti-trafficking law by aggressively investigating and prosecuting forced labor and sex trafficking offenders, including officials complicit in trafficking; take steps to ensure the effective prohibition of the commercial sexual exploitation of children; seek criminal punishment for any guilty trafficking offender; monitor human trafficking trial procedures, and ensure trafficking offenders receive sentences that are proportionate to the gravity of the crime; complete the anti-trafficking committee’s development and implementation of formal procedures to guide officials in proactively identifying victims of sex trafficking and forced labor, including among migrant laborers and people in prostitution, and refer them for care; continue to increase partnerships with NGOs to address reintegration of trafficking victims in Belize; ensure identified foreign victims are not penalized for crimes, such as immigration violations, committed as a direct result of being subjected to human trafficking; and implement a targeted campaign educating domestic and foreign communities about forced domestic service and other types of forced labor, commercial sexual exploitation of children, and other forms of human trafficking. The number of traffic convictions or sentences is not included, and it’s the most important indicator. According to the Trafficking in Persons Report published in June 2013 by the U.S. Department of State, the Government of Belize does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government enacted an anti-trafficking law late in the reporting period that raised penalties for human trafficking offenses. It also enacted a law prohibiting and punishing the commercial sexual exploitation of children under the age of 18. Belize is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. A common form of human trafficking in Belize is the coerced prostitution of children, often occurring through parents pushing their children to provide sexual favors to older men in exchange for school fees, money, and gifts. Child sex tourism, involving primarily U.S. citizens, has been identified as an emerging trend in Belize.
Topics : Even a coordinated response of fiscal and monetary initiatives appears not to impress traders, at least when it’s in a single country. The Bank of England cut interest rates by half a point on Wednesday, when the UK government also pledged a 30 billion pound ($39 billion) emergency boost to spending. The FTSE 100, which had started the session up as much as 2.2 percent, ended the day 1.6 percent lower.Read also: Indonesia set to delay import duties, corporate income tax payments to cope with virus effectsBritain’s continental neighbors have also made a show of a united fiscal-monetary front, at least when it comes to communication. Some 27 European Union leaders held a video conference to coordinate action with European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde earlier this week. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Wednesday pledge to do “whatever is required” to limit the impact of the coronavirus on Europe’s biggest economy failed to prevent another drop in regional stocks.The echo of the “whatever it takes” pledge from the European Central Bank in 2012 – which helped put a floor under the euro crisis – hasn’t been matched by a large-scale fiscal package. Next up is the ECB meeting Thursday, where economists anticipate a rate cut along with other measures.One market where authorities are proving purposefully unhelpful is oil. With Saudi Arabia and Russia battling for market share, that’s provided a double whammy, alongside the hit due to sliding demand as global growth decelerates.West Texas Intermediate crude has tumbled by roughly half from the high in January.Read also: In Singapore’s neighbor Batam, malls empty, ferry trips reduced as virus fears lurkTrump’s actions might not have forestalled a bear market for US stocks, but in another market things have moved in a more favorable direction. The dollar, which Trump has long said was strong and hurting US competitiveness, is on the retreat – at least against the euro and yen. Losses for emerging-market currencies make the dollar index a more equivocal play.The asset that for the moment stands out as potentially less responsive to fear and panic is gold. The traditional haven asset climbed as the coronavirus spread around the world, but it’s come off of the high it reached Monday. Read also: In dramatic step, Trump restricts travel from Europe to US to fight coronavirus“The central bank ‘put’ has established a floor under risk assets for the past decade. This is the first time that markets are seriously questioning whether it will work again,” Jason Daw, a strategist at Societe Generale SA in Singapore, wrote in a note Thursday. “While fiscal policy is better medicine than monetary, neither are properly equipped to mitigate the coronavirus-induced growth shock.”Error-laden announcements added to Thursday’s tumult. Trump’s initial comments suggested restrictions both travel and trade from Europe, while subsequent clarifications emphasized it applied just to people. Even then, the news underscores how steps to slow the spread of the disease unavoidably also hammer businesses, and so corporate earnings and stock-market valuations.Trump spoke little more than an hour after his Australian counterpart, whose own announcements similarly failed to do the trick for equity investors. Prime Minister Scott Morrison formally announced nearly A$18 billion (US$11.6 billion) in stimulus. The S&P/ASX 200 Index, which had opened in the red, saw losses more than double at one point, to almost 8 percent. For weeks, investors have been pleading for governments to shore up a global economy ravaged by the coronavirus. But after the biggest wave of stimulus announcements since the outbreak began, fear is mounting the efforts might not provide the salvation markets are looking for.Emergency measures in the U.K, Italy and Australia, along with a commitment from Germany’s Angela Merkel to do “whatever is necessary,” were met with fresh waves of selling in stocks, putting the MSCI All-Country World Index on the brink of a bear market. The gloom veered toward panic after President Donald Trump announced an underwhelming set of US support measures and restricted travel from Europe. S&P 500 futures tumbled as much as 4.9 percent and contracts on the Euro Stoxx 50 over 8 percent.While government stimulus helped bring an end to the global recession triggered by the financial crisis, investors are increasingly skeptical whether policy makers can forestall a virus-induced downturn. Fiscal and monetary measures may only help with the knock-on effects of the epidemic’s widespread shutdown of economic activity, leaving investors little option but to await the subsiding of the virus itself.