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Trinidad and Tobago national Charmaine Ghandi-Andrews has been awarded Hero status by the US Department of State. Gandhi-Andrews, who is the former director of T&T’s Counter Trafficking Unit, has been named one of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report Heroes for 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry made the announcement in Washington, DC as he released the 2014 TIP Report yesterday.
The United States Embassy, in a statement yesterday, said, “Gandhi-Andrews was for several years a leading and outspoken advocate for human trafficking legislation, which the government (T&T) ultimately implemented in January 2013. Largely due to her tireless efforts, Trinidad and Tobago now has an infrastructure in place to recognise, identify, and support victims.”
Regional advocacy group, Caribbean Umbrella Body for Restorative Behaviour (CURB), released a statement praising Ghandi-Andrews’ work.
The statement said, that “Gandhi-Andrews is deserving of such recognition is not in dispute as far as we are concerned…Her years leading investigations for the Immigration Division and her fearless opposition to corruption equipped her to lead the CTU into making landmark arrests including those of law enforcement officers allegedly involved in trafficking in persons...Under her leadership, the CTU was able to make substantial progress in its first year of operation to arrest several offenders in both islands of our republic and rescue a dozen foreign victims of human trafficking. These are quite enviable achievements in the first 12 months of operation, despite substantial challenges.”
Ghandi-Andrews, who was present to receive the accolade and also delivered remarks on behalf of the group of the 2014 TIP Heroes, said, “Our work has only just begun, but we are committed to the fight against human trafficking and will continue to work with the tenacity with which we started, to end human trafficking in Trinidad and Tobago.”