Crack down on Human Trafficking in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Posted on July 4, 2010


San Pedro Ambergris Caye, Human Trafficking


INTRODUCTIONOur two previous Appeals to the Government of Belize, in which we urged them to stop human trafficking in their country, extended a hand of partnership to Prime Minister Dean Barrow.In this our third Appeal, we provide further details on a step that can be taken immediately to address human trafficking in Belize:  crack down on San Pedro Ambergris Caye.San Pedro, Ambergris CayeThe Belize tourism boycott has designated San Pedro a red flag no-go zone for tourists because it is a center for human trafficking. In fact, it is among the worst violators in Central America.San Pedro is heavily populated with ficha bars specializing in exploiting women victims of human trafficking.  The Town of San Pedro counts 90 human trafficking bars that specialize in forced prostitution of human trafficking victims.  This is in a town with a population of a population of 12,000.Human Trafficking Corruption in San PedroTop Cop CorruptedCorruption in San Pedro as it affects human trafficking has three pulse points:  Mayor Elsa Paz; the police; and the bar owned by the Mayor, Big Daddy’s Night Club.Mayor Paz – enjoys the benefits but none of the restrictions associated with conflict of interest for politicians. The Mayor appointed her brother George to the resort island’s five-member liquor board, which is authorized to issue and enforce liquor regulations locally. The liquor board approved over 390 licenses this year. Ninety of those licenses were awarded to ficha bars known for offering human trafficking victims as part of their bill of fare.As the co-owner of Big Daddy’s Night Club she uses her influence to make sure the human trafficking victims in her club remain enslaved, working for her and her brother.  Together they profit from the trade in drugs and human trafficking, selling victims to other local bar owners or forcing them into prostitution at Big Daddy’s.Big Daddy’s Night Club – is the anchor for human trafficking in San Pedro.  It is the hub out of which all of the human trafficking victims coming to town are sold and dispatched to other local ficha bars.  Our sources in San Pedro tell us up to 500 human trafficking victims a year are processed through Big Daddy’s. Notorious for its selection of trafficked girls, it operates without interference from the police.  It is also a major drug-dealing establishment, which the police also turn a blind eye to.The police – are in Mayor Paz’s pocket.  They do not enforce liquor licensing laws, which hold that prostitution in bars is an offence, punishable by fine and possible conviction.  They also provide security for Big Daddy’s and are among the establishment’s best customers for trafficked girls.Appeal to Prime Minister Dean Barrow:  start with a crack down on San PedroIn our recent Appeal #2 to the Belize government, we urged Prime Minister Barrow to strengthen and enforce liquor laws so they provide penalties to bar owner profiting from prostitution, including:1) Fines for bar owners, starting at $2,000 (Belize) for a first offence2) Suspension of liquor license for a period of six months for the first offence, up to two years for the second, and up to five years for subsequent violations3) Monitor police enforcement of liquor license lawsIn the immediate term, we are asking the Prime Minister to enforce Belize’s current liquor license laws. These laws that would empower inspection and crack down on bars which permit on-premises prostitution.We respectfully submit that Prime Minister Barrow move immediately to investigate and prosecute San Pedro bar owners profiting from human trafficking victims in forced prostitution.  We suggest he make a first-strike example of Mayor Paz, her bar, Big Daddy’s Night Club, and her relationship with the police.We further submit that the following San Pedro ficha bars, which openly exploit human trafficking victims, be investigated and pursued under Belize law: Tinapa; Black& White; Back-A-Town; Riverside; Mings; Las Amigos; Pedro’s; Sport Bar; Jovinies;  and Tackle Box.APPEALIn submitting this appeal to the Belize government, I am urging the Dean Barrow government to act immediately to address human trafficking along and within its borders.Specifically, I am endorsing the above-noted anti-trafficking measures regarding: targeting a crackdown on human trafficking in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye; inspecting and pursuing under Belize laws San Pedro bar owners who profit from human trafficking victims.Keywords: Human Trafficking, Trafficking In Humans, Trafficking In Humans Guatemala, Belize tourism boycott, human trafficking reports | Tagged: Human Trafficking, Human Trafficking Central America, Human Trafficking Guatemala, Fight Human Trafficking, US Government Human Trafficking, human trafficking San Pedro Belize, Vivian Trill on Belize Boycott

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