Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Curacao

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 27 June 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Curacao, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee852d.html [accessed 30 August 2014]
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.

Curacao (Tier 2 Watch List) *

* Curacao is a semi-autonomous entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom Charter divides responsibility among the co-equal parts of the Kingdom based on jurisdiction. For the purpose of this report, Curacao 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 Curacao would be assessed if it were a separate, independent country.

Curacao is a source, transit, and destination area for women, children, and men who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. There are indications that child prostitution may be a problem in Curacao and that some of the hundreds of migrant women in Curacao's regulated and illegal prostitution are victims of forced prostitution. Local authorities believe that migrant workers have also been subjected to forced domestic service and forced labor in construction, landscaping, and shops. Some migrants in restaurants and local businesses may be vulnerable to debt bondage. Foreign trafficking victims originate in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Asia.

The Government of Curacao does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these efforts, the government has not shown evidence of increasing efforts over the previous year; therefore Curacao is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. Curacaoan authorities identified at least four potential victims of forced labor during the year. This accomplishment, however, was overshadowed by the lack of progress in enacting comprehensive legislation – which remained stalled in parliament – that would prohibit all forms of human trafficking and weak victim protections, as well as the lack of identification of victims of forced or child prostitution, despite a large population of people that are vulnerable to sex trafficking.

Recommendations for Curacao: Enact legislation prohibiting all forms of human trafficking and prescribing punishments commensurate with other serious crimes such as rape; implement formal victim protection measures to guide officials, including health workers, on how to identify victims and how to assist victims of both forced labor and sex trafficking; make a robust and transparent effort to identify and assist potential victims of sex trafficking and forced labor in Curacao.

Prosecution

The government of Curacao demonstrated minimal efforts in the prosecution of trafficking offenders. Curacao's laws do not appear to cover all forms of human trafficking and prescribed penalties under Curacao's trafficking-related laws do not appear to be commensurate with those penalties prescribed under separate laws for other serious crimes, such as rape. For another year, comprehensive legislation prohibiting all forms of trafficking remained pending; this greatly hindered officials' efforts to combat sex trafficking and forced labor in Curacao. The government reported at least two investigations of alleged trafficking offenses, but no prosecutions or convictions of sex or labor trafficking offenders. The government did not fund any anti-trafficking training for government officials during the reporting period, but a government official reportedly distributed a trafficking awareness handbook to law enforcement officials and public prosecutors.

Protection

The government's victim protection measures were weak. The lack of identification of sex trafficking victims in Curacao, despite the very large vulnerable population of foreign women and girls in prostitution in Curacao's sex trade, highlights the ineffectiveness of the government's victim identification measures. In a positive development, law enforcement proactively identified at least four potential victims of forced labor during the reporting period, but it did not identify any victims of sex trafficking. The government reported its use of a formal mechanism to refer identified victims to available services. The government operated multi-purpose shelter facilities and provided health care for victims of trafficking during the reporting period. The identified victims in Curacao declined assistance; however, the government reportedly provided quality assistance to several sex trafficking victims identified in Aruba under the partnership forged through the Kingdom of the Netherlands' anti-trafficking memorandum of understanding. The government reported encouraging trafficking victims to participate in investigations and prosecutions of trafficking offenders, though no victims chose to participate in prosecutions during the reporting period. The government did not grant temporary or longer-term residency status to any foreign victims of trafficking during the year. The government did not have a policy to protect identified victims from being punished for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

Prevention

The government did not implement any campaigns to raise public awareness about forced labor and forced prostitution, or aimed at reducing the demand for commercial sex acts. The government did not employ a formal mechanism to monitor its anti-trafficking efforts. The Curacaoan government maintained a multidisciplinary trafficking in persons working group. The government has not identified a child sex tourism problem involving Curacao.

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