2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - St. Lucia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||27 June 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - St. Lucia, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee482.html [accessed 10 March 2014]|
St. Lucia (Tier 2)
St. Lucia is a destination country for persons subjected to forced prostitution and forced labor. In a welcomed move, government officials acknowledge the existence of forced prostitution and forced labor, including domestic servitude, in St. Lucia. Legal and illegal immigrants from Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Guyana reportedly are the groups most vulnerable to human trafficking. Foreign women in prostitution are at particularly high risk. According to the police and NGOs, the most likely traffickers in the country are pimps, strip club operators, and brothel owners; during the past years there were allegations that some underground strip clubs were fronts for prostitution and reportedly were owned or protected by complicit former police officers. Crime and gang violence present a significant risk to children in St. Lucia, and children involved in the drug trade or engaging in sex with men for basics such as food, transportation, or material goods are vulnerable to human trafficking.
The Government of St. Lucia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government made progress in its anti-trafficking efforts over the past year by passing legislation prohibiting human trafficking and providing victim protection provisions. The government helped at least one victim during the reporting period, but it did not report any prosecutions of trafficking offenders or officials complicit in human trafficking.
Recommendations for St. Lucia: Provide adequate funding to implement the new Counter-Trafficking Act 2010; increase training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges on addressing forced prostitution and forced labor; vigorously prosecute, convict, and punish trafficking offenders, including officials complicit in human trafficking; develop a plan to appropriately assist child victims; continue identifying and assisting victims of forced labor and forced prostitution; and work with IOM to provide safe repatriation procedures for foreign victims who would like to return home.
The government made progress by enacting anti-trafficking legislation but did not report prosecuting and punishing any trafficking offenders during the reporting period. St. Lucia passed and enacted the Counter-Trafficking Act 2010 in February 2010. The Act prohibits forced prostitution and forced labor and prescribes punishment of five to 10 years' imprisonment with fines. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of trafficking offenders or public officials complicit in human trafficking under this new law or other statutes during the reporting period. The government did not offer formal training for police, immigration authorities, health workers, or child protection officials in identifying human trafficking, but the government provided in kind assistance for an OAS human trafficking awareness training during the reporting period.
The government made modest efforts to protect victims of human trafficking during the reporting period, despite resource and capacity restraints. The police and Division of Gender Relations rescued at least one foreign adult victim of forced labor during the reporting period and provided her with shelter for about 10 days before she left voluntarily for her home country. The government employed a system of informal shelters where adult victims' locations could be hidden; however, there were inadequate facilities for child victims as magistrates were forced to choose between the prison or a mental institution to place children needing protection. Through the Division of Gender Relations, victims of trafficking could be referred to various organizations that provide access to legal aid, medical assistance, and crisis services. The government encouraged victims to participate in the prosecution of trafficking offenders. Although the new anti-trafficking law has explicit provisions to protect foreign victims from deportation and from prosecution for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked, there were no reports of the government offering victims immigration relief during the last year.
The government made efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. While there was no national campaign to raise awareness about forced labor and forced prostitution, officials distributed IOM human trafficking awareness brochures at anti-violence outreach activities. The Division of Gender Relations chaired a working level, inter-ministerial, anti-trafficking coalition that met regularly to discuss suspected cases, formulate strategies to address them, and follow up with law enforcement to conduct investigations. The coalition has included NGOs in the development of a national anti-trafficking action plan. The government did not have a campaign to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The government has not identified a problem with child sex tourism in St. Lucia or involving its nationals. St. Lucia is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.