Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2018, 13:36 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Netherlands Antilles

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 14 June 2010
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Netherlands Antilles, 14 June 2010, available at: [accessed 23 February 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


* The Netherlands Antilles is a semi-autonomous entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom Charter divides responsibility among the three co-equal parts of the Kingdom based on jurisdiction and matter. For the purpose of this report, the Netherlands Antilles is not a "country" to which the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act apply. This narrative reflects how the Antilles would be assessed if it were a separate, independent country.

The five islands of the Netherlands Antilles are a transit and destination area for women and children who are subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and for men and women who are in conditions of forced labor. The women in prostitution in the Netherlands Antilles' regulated and illegal sex trades are highly vulnerable to human trafficking, as are unaccompanied minors traveling to or through Curacao. Local authorities believe that men and women have also been subjected to involuntary domestic servitude and other forms of forced labor in the agriculture and construction industries. Groups vulnerable to this labor trafficking include foreign males in the agriculture, gardening, and construction sectors. Some migrants in restaurants and local businesses may be vulnerable to debt bondage.

The Government of the Netherlands Antilles does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government over the last year made progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking offenders; it also boosted victim identification efforts. Comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation remained pending, and there were few specialized services available for trafficking victims.

Recommendations for the Netherlands Antilles: Enact legislation criminalizing all forms of human trafficking and prescribing punishment commensurate with other serious crimes; vigorously prosecute and convict sex and labor trafficking offenders in all five islands of the Netherlands Antilles; continue to build capacity for assisting trafficking victims throughout the Netherlands Antilles; expand awareness activities, including consideration of ways to educate clients of the sex trade and ultimate consumers of products resulting from the use of forced labor about the causes and consequences of trafficking; and explore the possible development of a hotline accessible to residents on all five islands.


The Government of the Netherlands Antilles improved anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. The government has not yet passed comprehensive legislation prohibiting all forms of trafficking; however, during the reporting period, the government prosecuted at least 11 people in Curacao for human trafficking offenses and convicted nine trafficking offenders – a significant increase from the one conviction reported last year. The average prison sentence imposed on the eight offenders was 21 months. The government did not report any human trafficking prosecutions or convictions in St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, or Saba during the reporting period. There were no reports of trafficking-related complicity during the reporting period. The Curacao anti-trafficking coordinator provided training for law enforcement officials during the reporting period. Officials participated in a Kingdom-partnership training for Curacao, St. Maarten, and Bonaire law enforcement and immigration officials on identifying and treating victims of trafficking and investigating trafficking crimes.


The government made limited progress in providing specialized services for trafficking victims but improved its efforts to identify victims. The government enhanced victim identification capability through training and, in a positive step, identified 16 trafficking victims during the reporting period. Curacao's anti-trafficking coordinator formally trained officials, including health officials working with women in a government-regulated brothel compound in Curacao, on identifying trafficking and providing victim assistance. The Bonaire anti-trafficking working group provided training for immigration officials on identifying trafficking victims. The government implemented a special trafficking victim referral mechanism to guide officials in referring potential trafficking victims to services. Government officials referred identified trafficking victims to limited, short-term assistance provided by a combination of government agencies and by NGOs that received government subsidies and to government-run care facilities for crime victims. The government placed child trafficking victims in facilities with their parents or in an institution for abused children. Government health care providers were available to assist foreign trafficking victims. The government did not officially offer access to legal aid for victims during the last year, though it had provided legal aid to some victims in the past.

The government maintained a policy of encouraging trafficking victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenders; the legal system allowed witnesses to trafficking crimes to provide anonymous testimony or testimony from abroad. The government has the authority to issue temporary residency status for foreign trafficking victims as an alternative to their removal, though it did not report issuance of such status to victims over the last year. The government has not developed a policy regarding longer term residency for trafficking victims. The government tried to ensure that identified trafficking victims were not penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Trained law enforcement officials regularly visit prison and detention facilities to prevent potential trafficking victims from being punished. The anti-trafficking coordinator convened regular meetings with service providers and law enforcement to encourage anti-trafficking partnerships on victim assistance. Netherlands Antilles officials forged a partnership with Dutch authorities to establish new procedures allowing foreign women in Curacao's regulated brothel compound to maintain control of all of their travel documents. This was a significant development as international organizations have expressed strong concern about the working conditions – including possible involuntary servitude – at this brothel.


The government continued modest efforts to raise awareness of human trafficking during the reporting period. The Justice Ministry added anti-trafficking content to its website. The public prosecutor and justice minister spoke publically about human trafficking, and the Curacao anti-trafficking coordinator gave lectures and presentations to live audiences and on television. The government continued to provide in-kind support for human trafficking hotlines in St. Maarten and Bonaire. The Netherlands Justice Ministry funded a sex trafficking awareness campaign at schools throughout the Antilles and funded a six-week public service announcement radio campaign that resulted in a significant increase in hotline calls and two criminal investigations. Formal interagency anti-trafficking working groups operated in Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten during the reporting period. The Curacao anti-trafficking coordinator conducted self-assessment meetings after trafficking investigations. There were no awareness campaigns specifically targeting potential clients of the sex trade in the Netherlands Antilles in an effort reduce demand for commercial sex acts.

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