Published On: Wed, Jun 25th, 2014

More effort is needed to combat forced labor, human trafficking and prostitution

Dept of StateWILLEMSTAD - The government must do more against trafficking and smuggling, and forced labor on the island. Some recommendations are the deploying of Spanish-speaking assistants in medical examinations of "legal" prostitutes and starting multilingual awareness campaigns. This is evident from the Trafficking in Person Report 2014 (TIP) which has placed Curaçao on Tier 2. The report was recently published by the U.S. Department of State.

Tier 2 countries are those whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA's minimum requirements (Trafficking Victims Protection Act), but are making significant efforts to bring the norms to the accepted level.

It also appears that the local authorities have indications that foreigners are subjected to forced domestic work and forced labor in agriculture, construction and retail, according to the TIP report. Also, some migrants who are working in restaurants and local businesses are vulnerable to debt bondage. In addition, undocumented Cuban, Indian and Chinese aliens remain vulnerable to trafficking and forced labor on the island.

The foreign victims are mainly from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Asia, according to the United States. Furthermore, organizations in Venezuela have assisted victims who were exploited on the island.

The local government must ensure that all civil servants, including medical staff, are optimally trained to recognize and assist victims of forced labor and trafficking in women in the legal and illegal sex industry,  otherwise the risk of negligent arrest and extradition of victims will increase, according to the USA.

The government must also ensure that there are continued adequate resources so that the new anti-trafficking task force can achieve its goals. They also need to start a multilingual awareness campaign targeting potential victims, the general public and potential clients of the sex industry, the report said.

Furthermore, it is still unclear whether the victims are protected from prosecution for crimes committed as a direct result of their life in the sex industry.

The fact that Curaçao does not operate shelters specifically for victims of trafficking is also strongly criticized in the report.

The close cooperation with the Dutch government in identifying victims of labor exploitation and human trafficking, and the government’s efforts to combat these crimes are appreciated by the USA. It cited the trainings organized for at least 50 participants, including officials and members of non-governmental organizations by the Ministry of Social Development.

In addition, the fact that the training to combat trafficking is included in the curriculum of the local police academy was praised by the U.S., and the fact that the police school has held a workshop for 23 members of the Security Services Curacao.

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