2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Suriname
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||27 June 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - Suriname, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee46c.html [accessed 18 May 2013]|
Suriname (Tier 2)
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. Forced labor victims are often men and arrive from Vietnam, Indonesia, China, and Haiti in search of employment in Suriname; however, upon arrival, they are subjected to forced labor in factories, the fishing industry, and agriculture. NGOs and the government suggest that some Brazilian women could be subjected to prostitution in Suriname's interior around mining camps, although the remote and illegal nature of these camps makes the scope of the problem unknown. NGOs report that some prostitution of children occurs in the capital of Paramaribo. 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. During the reporting period, authorities maintained law enforcement efforts by convicting two trafficking offenders, assisted three sex trafficking victims, and launched a new trafficking hotline. However, victim identification and assistance mechanisms remained weak, the government conducted few awareness-raising efforts, and the government did not offer foreign victims legal alternatives to their deportation, resulting in the deportation of two suspected forced labor victims.
Recommendations for Suriname: Vigorously investigate and prosecute trafficking cases and convict trafficking offenders; establish provisions for legal alternatives to victims' removal to countries where they would face retribution or hardship; provide training to law enforcement, immigration, and judicial officials regarding the identification of trafficking cases and the treatment of trafficking victims using a victim-centered approach; ensure that victims receive specialized services through partnering with and funding NGOs that provide these services; implement a national anti-trafficking plan; and continue to raise awareness about trafficking, targeting the general public, victims, potential clients of the sex trade, and consumers of products made and services provided through forced labor.
The Government of Suriname maintained modest 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. Authorities reported investigating three cases of sex trafficking and one case of labor trafficking in 2010. Two sex trafficking offenders were prosecuted and convicted under the anti-trafficking statute; sentences ranged from two to two and half years and were not suspended. These sentences are less than the statutory minimum of five years' imprisonment prescribed for this offense. In comparison, authorities convicted three sex trafficking and three labor trafficking offenders during the previous year, with sentences averaging 19 months' imprisonment. The police continued to operate a four-person specialized anti-trafficking unit that investigated cases nationwide. However, authorities did not have the resources to conduct investigations into trafficking allegations linked to illegal gold mining sites in the country's interior. Government training for officials on how to identify and assist trafficking victims remained limited. The government reported no data on government officials investigated, prosecuted, convicted, or sentenced for trafficking-related complicity.
The Government of Suriname provided limited protections to trafficking victims, relying on NGOs to provide most victim care. Authorities did not employ a formal system to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as women in prostitution. The government was not able to provide support for a shelter for trafficking victims. Three NGOs provided basic shelter services, and the government ran a shelter for victims of domestic violence that also offered services to trafficking victims, though the government did not report any victims receiving care at this shelter during the reporting period. Government funds for victim assistance were limited to reimbursing NGOs for the basic shelter, clothing, food, and medical care for the two Guyanese and one Surinamese sex trafficking victims identified during the year. The government identified two Chinese men as labor trafficking victims, but they were deported as undocumented migrants after they refused to assist law enforcement authorities in prosecuting their trafficking offenders. Although the government did not have a formalized referral process of identified trafficking victims to NGOs that provide services, authorities reported doing so on an ad hoc basis. To date, there have been no formal mechanisms established to provide foreign victims with legal alternatives to remain permanently in Suriname. The government claimed that it encouraged victims to assist with the prosecution of trafficking offenders; however, the legal system conditions immigration relief on victims' assistance to the government's prosecution. Throughout the year, victims were not given temporary legal status.
The Government of Suriname increased 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 working group drafted an anti-trafficking plan of action for 2011 that was not yet approved during the reporting period. In 2010, authorities launched a trafficking hotline, with funding from a foreign government, but the hotline received few calls due to limited public awareness of its existence. However, in March 2011 the government launched a television publicity campaign with the support of an international organization in order to raise awareness of the hotline in three major languages. There were no reported measures against child sex tourism during the year, but authorities investigated a French diplomat for sexually exploiting a trafficking victim in Suriname: he was not prosecuted due to his diplomatic immunity. The government made no discernible efforts to reduce the demand for forced labor.