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Sheila Roseau

Antigua and Barbuda , Class of 2011

Sheila Roseau
Antigua and Barbuda

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She was the force behind Antigua and Barbuda’s first anti-trafficking law, passed in only 2010.

Ms. Roseau is the executive director of the Directorate of Gender Affairs. She has held that position since 1995, and has continuously advocated for the rights of women and children in Antigua and Barbuda. She helped to found the Caribbean Institute for Women in Leadership (CIWIL) in order to promote women’s leadership in politics and government throughout the Caribbean. In 2009, she organized an event that was attended by over 500 people to support survivors of sexual assault, and to raise awareness about the issue of sexual assault in society. It was in 2010 that she became heavily involved with anti-trafficking work. She was the driving force behind Antigua and Barbuda’s 2010 anti-trafficking law, which was the first law to penalize traffickers. The law also addressed victim services and support in its provisions. She was instrumental in both the drafting of the legislation, and the passing of the legislation.

After the law passed, she continued to advocate for it, establishing an informal inter-departmental coalition between different areas of the government. She built awareness about the law at all levels, and networked with civil society to ensure that adequate victim services would be provided. Ms. Roseau’s dedication and effort have given victims in Antigua and Barbuda protections under the law that had never existed before. Despite her limited resources, she has managed to effectively influence the government she works for to actively address the issue of human trafficking. In 2011, she was given a Trafficking in Persons Report Hero Award for her efforts to combat modern-day slavery.

In the 2014 TIP Report, Antigua and Barbuda was placed on the Tier 2 Watch List. It is a destination, and a transit, country for both sex trafficking and forced labor. Immigrants are especially vulnerable to exploitation. The government needs to correct a flaw in its legislation, which has resulted in some jurisdictional issues, and identification of trafficking situations at the law enforcement level is poor.

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