2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - St. Lucia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||19 June 2012|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - St. Lucia, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30c94c.html [accessed 27 February 2015]|
ST. LUCIA (Tier 2)
St. Lucia is a destination country for persons subjected to forced prostitution and forced labor. Legal and illegal immigrants from Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and South Asia reportedly are the groups most vulnerable to human trafficking. Sex trafficking victims are likely found among foreign women in prostitution. According to the police and NGOs, the most likely traffickers in the country are pimps, strip club operators, and brothel owners; in the past, there were allegations that some underground strip clubs were fronts for prostitution and reportedly were owned or protected by complicit former police officers. There are indications that children are coerced to engage in commercial sex in St. Lucia.
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. During the reporting period the government did not make progress in prosecuting trafficking offenders, although it helped rescue at least one apparent forced labor victim during the reporting period. While many officials expressed strong political will to address human trafficking, government employees' trafficking complicity also remained a problem.
Recommendations for St. Lucia: Provide adequate funding for and standard operating procedures to implement the new Counter-Trafficking Act 2010, ensuring that both local and international trafficking victims are protected; vigorously prosecute, convict, and punish perpetrators of forced labor and sex trafficking, including officials complicit in human trafficking; continue identifying and assisting victims of forced labor and forced prostitution; work with IOM to provide safe repatriation procedures for foreign victims who would like to return home; and continue with plans to establish an inter-ministerial task force and empower law enforcement and victim protection officials to participate.
The Government of St. Lucia did not make progress in addressing human trafficking through law enforcement means during the reporting period. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking through the Counter-Trafficking Act 2010, which 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 in 2011, nor in 2010. Authorities acknowledged that the complicity of some law enforcement officials was a problem. The government did not offer formal training for police, immigration authorities, health workers, or child protection officials in identifying human trafficking. There were no standard operating procedures in place to guide law enforcement authorities in how to handle trafficking cases.
The government made modest efforts to protect victims of human trafficking during the reporting period, despite resource and capacity restraints. The government funded an NGO that rescued and provided assistance to at least one foreign adult victim of forced labor during the reporting period, and the NGO worked with the diplomatic mission of the victim's home country to repatriate her. However, the government did not have formal procedures to guide law enforcement, health, and other officials in how to identify trafficking victims and refer them to available protection and assistance services. The government also ran a system of informal shelters where victims, including male children, could find shelter from their exploiters. A government-funded NGO ran a day-use shelter for girls, although there was no 24-hour residential shelter currently in the country for girls. Magistrates were forced to choose between prison or a mental institution in which to place girls needing protection. The government encouraged victims to participate in the prosecution of trafficking offenders through strong victim protection provisions in the Counter-Trafficking Act 2010. The act has explicit provisions to protect foreign victims from deportation and from prosecution for crimes committed as a direct result of being in a trafficking situation.
The government made some 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. Through a television appearance, the minister of National Security expressed political will to address trafficking and announced intentions to set up an inter-ministerial task force. The government's director of Gender Affairs raised awareness of human trafficking through radio and visits to schools and public health facilities during the reporting period. 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.