2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Suriname
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||19 June 2012|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Suriname, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30c922d.html [accessed 7 March 2014]|
SURINAME (Tier 2 Watch List)
Suriname is a destination, source, and transit country for women, men, and children who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Women and girls from Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic are subjected to sex trafficking in the country, many of them lured with false promises of employment. In past years, Asian men, particularly from China, have arrived in Suriname in search of employment but subsequently have been subjected to forced labor, including in the service sector and construction. Although media reports indicate that debt bondage and sex trafficking occur within the Chinese migrant community, no victims from this community were identified during the year. NGOs and government sources suggest that some women and girls could be exploited in sex trafficking in Suriname's interior around mining camps, although the remote and illegal nature of these camps makes the scope of the problem unknown, and there is little government presence in these areas. Children working in informal urban sectors and gold mines were also vulnerable to forced labor.
The Government of Suriname 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 did not demonstrate evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the last year. Therefore, Suriname is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. Although authorities identified and assisted two trafficking victims, the government did not prosecute or convict any trafficking offenders during the year, did not offer legal alternatives to deportation to foreign victims, and conducted few trainings or awareness-raising efforts.
Recommendations for Suriname: Vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking cases and convict trafficking offenders; ensure that a victim's initial refusal to testify against a trafficker does not prevent authorities from pursuing a prosecution; establish provisions for legal alternatives to victims' removal to countries where they would face retribution or hardship; provide training to law enforcement, immigration, labor, and judicial officials and social workers regarding the identification of trafficking cases and the treatment of victims; ensure that victims receive specialized services through partnering with and funding NGOs that provide these services; consider implementing a national anti-trafficking plan; and continue to raise awareness about all forms of trafficking.
The Government of Suriname made limited law enforcement efforts against trafficking offenders over the last year. Suriname prohibits all forms of human trafficking through a 2006 amendment to its criminal code, which prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties of five to 20 years' imprisonment – penalties that are commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The police continued to operate a four-person specialized anti-trafficking unit that investigated cases and conducted administrative checks of nightclubs in the capital where prostitution occurred; no victims were identified during these inspections during the year. Authorities investigated two cases of sex trafficking in 2011, compared to three cases of sex trafficking and one case of labor trafficking in 2010. No new prosecutions were initiated during the year, and the authorities convicted no traffickers during the reporting period. In comparison, authorities prosecuted and convicted two sex trafficking offenders during the previous year. Prosecutions are almost exclusively dependent on the victim's willingness to testify. Authorities had insufficient resources to conduct investigations in the country's interior. While there were no reported government efforts to provide anti-trafficking training to officials, officials participated in several workshops funded by a foreign government. The government reported no data on public officials investigated, prosecuted, convicted, or sentenced for trafficking-related complicity, although in past years some NGOs have voiced concern regarding police complicity and stopped working with police on potential trafficking cases.
The Government of Suriname provided limited protections to trafficking victims, working with NGOs to provide victims with access to basic services. Authorities did not employ formal procedures to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as women in prostitution or migrant workers. Although the government did not have a formalized process to refer trafficking victims to NGOs that provide services, authorities reported doing so on an ad hoc basis. The government worked with two NGOs, one of which offers shelter, to fund basic services to the two child victims of sex trafficking, one from Guyana and one from Suriname, identified by authorities during the reporting period. Some officials noted that there were insufficient resources to pay for victim care. NGOs working with people in prostitution did not actively seek to identify additional victims during the year, in part out of wariness of working with authorities on this issue. The government maintained a shelter for victims of domestic violence that could house trafficking victims, although the government did not report that any victims received care at this shelter during the reporting period. The government reported encouraging victims to assist with the prosecution of trafficking offenders; however, there is no mechanism in place to provide deportation relief to foreign victims of trafficking.
The Government of Suriname maintained limited trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. The government's inter-agency anti-trafficking working group, which met on a monthly basis, continued to coordinate the government's anti-trafficking efforts. The anti-trafficking plan for 2011, drafted by the working group in 2010, remained unapproved during the reporting period. Despite publicity campaigns during the year, the anti-trafficking hotline administered by the police reportedly received no phone calls. There were no reported measures against child sex tourism during the year. The government made no discernible efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex or forced labor.