The overarching objective of this study was to facilitate the creation of evidence-based policies capable of maximizing the potential contribution of migration to the development of Trinidad and Tobago.
The overarching objective of this study was to facilitate the creation of evidence-based policies capable of maximizing the potential contribution of migration to the development of Trinidad and Tobago. Moreover, it sought to improve the programmatic and policy framework on cross-border migration, with a focus on irregular migration, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. A qualitative methodology was employed, which involved the use of semi-structured interviews to elicit information from 40 migrants in detention and 25 key stakeholders. Content analysis was used to analyse the field data and, through this process, patterns and trends were established. Irregular migration and migrant smuggling appear to be more common occurrences in Trinidad and Tobago, as opposed to human trafficking which seems to occur on a much smaller scale. Furthermore, migrants in situations of irregularity were exposed to various forms of exploitation and abuse which led to a derogation of their human rights. Another major finding was that human trafficking and irregular migration, particularly undocumented migrant workers and migrant smuggling appear to have deleterious impacts upon the development of Trinidad and Tobago, as these phenomena essentially undermine the potential economic and welfare contributions of irregular migrants, trafficked persons and smuggled migrants. Irregular migration, human trafficking and migrant smuggling therefore, can reverse hard-won developmental gains if the process of migration is not effectively managed. Accordingly, the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, in conjunction with law enforcement officials, should seek to address the root causes of irregular migration through the expansion of legal channels for migration. This would also reduce the need for smugglers and traffickers. Furthermore, efforts should be made to mainstream migration into existing development strategies.