WILLEMSTAD, Curacao -- The Curacao government has been called on to do more against trafficking and smuggling, and forced labour 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 Persons Report 2014 (TIP) which has placed Curacao on Tier 2. The report was recently published by the US Department of State.
Tier 2 countries are those whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum requirements of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in the US, 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 labour 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 labour 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 labour 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 Curacao 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 labour exploitation and human trafficking, and the government’s efforts to combat these crimes are appreciated by the US. 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 US, and the fact that the police school has held a workshop for 23 members of the Curacao Security Services.
Republished with permission of the Curacao Chronicle