TIP Award Year:
Ms. Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews was an outspoken advocate for better legislation concerning the trafficking of persons in Trinidad and Tobago for several years. During that time, her advocacy led to the passage of the 2013 bill which implemented radical changes in the way in which the government treats trafficking issues. Because of those advocacy efforts, the country has an anti-trafficking infrastructure in place. As the Director of the country's Counter-Trafficking Unit which is housed in the Ministry of National Security, she was incredibly influential. In her first year she investigated over 20 different cases of trafficking. Charges were filed in 12 of the cases, even some charges against government officials. These investigations also uncovered a dangerous link between human trafficking and organized crime, which is common in many countries and regions. She also, along with her department, held trainings for various actors, including civil society persons and organizations, law enforcement personnel, students, and lawyers. These trainings and outreaches that her department have undertaken have changed the way many people think. Resource providers now help assist victims in many ways. Her voice has shaped the national dialogue. She is now the Deputy Chief Immigration Officer. In 2014, she was honored as a "TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery" in recognition of her efforts to combat human trafficking.
In the 2014 TIP Report, Trinidad and Tobago was listed as a Tier 2 Country. It is primarily a destination and a transit country, although it is also a source, for both sex trafficking and forced labor. Economic migrants are vulnerable to exploitation for forced labor, and a sex trade occurs internally. Although the government seems to vigorously attempt prosecution, there have been no successful prosecutions, and government victim identification procedures are insufficient.