The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is bolstering its efforts to address the scourge of human trafficking.
Legislators today approved for amendment to the Immigration Restriction Act that makes provision for the criminalization of the act of smuggling migrants, whether by land, air or sea.
Speaking in Parliament this morning, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the amendments to the Bill are also necessary to remedy deficiencies that were highlighted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its report of St. Vincent and the Grenadines during an on sight evaluation of the Anti-Money Laundering Counter Financing of Terrorism Regime.
He explained that a number of offences arising from migration are seen now as predicate offences to money laundering.
The Prime Minister said that with the amendments to the Immigration Restriction Act, persons found guilty of smuggling others will face longer prison sentences.
He said commercial carriers will also be liable for not verifying that passengers are in possession of necessary travel documents to enter St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Dr. Gonsalves said those involved in human smuggling will also face high fines.