UN investigator in Cuba to inspect fight against human trafficking


UN investigator in Cuba to inspect fight against human trafficking

For the first time in a decade, Cuba has allowed a U.N. inspection inside the country.

The United Nations human-rights inspector is measuring progress in the fight against human trafficking.

CGTN’s Michael Voss reports.

Maria Grazia Giammarinaro is the U.N. special rapporteur on trafficking in persons. Cuba is hoping her visit will help clear the country’s name.

The message from government officials is that there is zero tolerance on the island for trafficking, sexual or labor exploitation.

Cuba had been on a United States’ blacklist of countries failing to tackle the issue. The government here considered this an unjust, politically motivated attempt to help justify the continuing trade embargo against Cuba.

After the two countries restored diplomatic relations, the Obama administration upgraded Cuba to the second tier: countries which don’t fully meet international standards but are making significant efforts to improve.

A major issue is what constitutes child abuse or exploitation: for the U.N., it’s a child under 18 years old but in Cuba it’s 16.

“We are revising our penal code, and this is one issue we are looking at. But the important thing here is that irrespective of age; either minors or adults, they are protected, and there is no impunity. Offenders are always prosecuted,” Isabel Moya, Cuban Women’s Federation said.

In a meeting with Cuba’s attorney general, the U.N.’s Giammarinaro was given details of the government’s new action plan to combat trafficking and exploitation.

“I have witnessed political will in the government authorities to prevent and fight against trafficking; there is a strong focus on prevention which I welcome. But this is a starting point in the sense that the real challenge is implementation of the action plan,” Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, U.N. Human Trafficking Inspector said.