Published On: Wed, Jun 10th, 2015

Intervene now, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs facilitates women trafficking (part 2)

human traffickingWILLEMSTAD - The parliament of Curaçao and the Minister of Social Development, Labor and Welfare (SOAW) should immediately intervene in the situation that is going on now within the Ministry for issuing employment permits.

The issuing of these permits goes against the established procedures and is actually illegal.

This is according to the Curaçao Court of Audit (ARC), which carried out an investigation into the legality of the employment permits. The report was published yesterday and is in one word devastating. It seems like the civil servants at the Ministry are just playing a game with these permits.

In the past three years, some 4,000 work permits were submitted and often treated under the simplified procedure. And this while the application does not meet the requirements and there is no legal and statutory basis for the use of summary proceedings. That accelerated procedure was established by the then government of the Island Territory of Curaçao, when it was still part of the Netherlands Antilles, in 2003 for foreign workers, for example, who went to work at the Isla Oil Refinery or Dokmaatschappij (Dry Dock).

Furthermore, the accelerated procedure is applied wrongly in the treatment of applications from companies not mentioned in the 2003 decision. In October last year, the Court of First Instance declared that women trafficking and prostitution were proven in two criminal cases on trafficking. These are women who are forced to prostitute while they were put to work at a company that requested a permit for them as dancers. No guideline is given to assess the amount of wages that a foreign employee is offered. For example, it happens that managers are offered a monthly salary of 2,500 guilders, while that function, in Curaçao, receives normally a much higher salary. The risk is that it is a different function than that for which the license is sought.

Evidently, there is a conflicting standard in the issuing of these employment permits. Developed practice that goes against the interests of the country, concludes the ARC. That is, against the intended meaning of the legislature in order to protect employment for local jobseekers and to promote local employment.

The established contraindications to the law represents a serious violation of the will of the legislature and thus seriously undermining generally accepted standards for the functioning of a democracy. This situation requires immediate action by the Parliament of Curaçao and the Minister of SOAW through corrective action to enforce and to ensure a correct application of the law, according to the ARC.

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