June 30, 2012 10:21 AM
WILLEMSTAD — Curaçao and Aruba must take a firm line in combating human trafficking and offering victims sufficient protection. This appears from the recent report Trafficking in Personns 2012 from the American Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Curaçao has now been placed on the TIER 2 list along with Aruba.
Last year, Curaçao had even been put on the TIER 2-watchlist. Curaçao can be considered a destination for females, men and perhaps even children who are forced into prostitution or labor. According to the auditors, ‘there are indications that child prostitution is a problem’. However, this cannot be substantiated by facts or figures. The recruitment procedure for the females from the tolerated Campo Alegre is also vague, according to the authors.
Also Chinese supermarkets and Indian men in jewelry stores in Aruba are specifically mentioned as potential victims of trafficking. St. Maarten is not treated. Netherlands is the 'best' scale: TIER 1. Women working in prostitution (the Dutch municipalities) Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba may be trafficking victims, said the Americans. On the islands there is also the danger of people being detained and will be obliged to work to pay off their debt, the so-called system of 'debt bondage'
The report 2012
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. The U.S. Government uses the TIP Report to engage foreign governments in dialogues to advance anti-trafficking reforms and to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs. Worldwide, the report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations alike as a tool to examine where resources are most needed. Freeing victims, preventing trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice are the ultimate goals of the report and of the U.S Government's anti-human trafficking policy.
In the TIP Report, the Department of State places each country onto one of three tiers based on the extent of their governments’ efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” found in Section 108 of the TVPA. While Tier 1 is the highest ranking, it does not mean that a country has no human trafficking problem. On the contrary, a Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards. Each year, governments need to demonstrate appreciable progress in combating trafficking to maintain a Tier 1 ranking.
Secretary Clinton (June 19, 2012) said about the report of 2012: "This report ... gives a clear and honest assessment of where all of us are making progress on our commitments and where we are either standing still or even sliding backwards. ... This year’s report tells us that we are making a lot of progress. Twenty-nine countries were upgraded from a lower tier to a higher one, which means that their governments are taking the right steps. This could mean enacting strong laws, stepping up their investigations and prosecutions, or simply laying out a roadmap of steps they will take to respond."
The local authorities also think migrants are sometimes forced to do housekeeping, to work in the construction sector, lay out gardens or work in shops. Migrants working in restaurants and local shops are more vulnerable because in many cases they have to pay off a debt. Victims of human trafficking come from Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Asia (India and China, (editorial office)).
Although the country does its best, it fails to comply with the minimum requirements to ban human trafficking. Last year the new penal code with severe punishments for human trafficking was adopted. However, there’d been no criminal cases to prosecute the perpetrators of human trafficking, unlike in 2010.
The US argue for a vigorous and transparent approach of human trafficking so victims actually dare to report to social workers. This means pro-active guidelines for those working in this sector – from public health workers to officials – who are to recognize the signs of human trafficking and identify the victims. However, as no courses were given for these sectors the past year, no victims of human trafficking were identified, according to the authors.
Besides a large-scale, multilingual awareness campaign, a Spanish social worker and more (health) inspections for instance at Campo Alegre, the auditors believe that perpetrators of human trafficking – including accomplice officials – should be prosecuted.
The government protecting victims of human trafficking is considered ‘weak’. In 2010, four victims of human trafficking were reported, compared to sixteen in 2009. There were no reports last year. This is characteristic for the lack of knowledge to identify victims, according to the authors – despite the significant population of foreign females working as prostitute on Curaçao. Organizations in Columbia and Venezuela report on having supported victims of forced, sexual exploitation on the island. The secret women’s hostels on Curaçao hadn’t received any victims of human trafficking the past year. Nor is there any protection program for victims.
Trafficking in persons report 2012_Introduction
Trafficking in persons report 2012_A tm C
Source: Amigoe / state.gov (US)