2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - St. Vincent and the Grenadines
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||27 June 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report - St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 27 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e12ee47c.html [accessed 29 March 2015]|
St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Tier 2 Watch List)
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a likely source, transit, and destination country for some children and adults subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Sufficient information on human trafficking in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is lacking, as there are no formal government structures to identify it or NGOs to address human trafficking specifically. According to NGOs and officials, there exists a social taboo of discussing the matter openly. Nevertheless, a consensus has developed between officials and NGOs that a population of persons at high risk of trafficking exists, notably children and adults working in agriculture including marijuana fields, women in prostitution, and children engaging in sex with men for basics such as food, transportation, or material goods. Vincentian officials have raised concerns regarding foreign women in prostitution transiting through the country without possession of their passports. One local observer expressed concern regarding harsh working conditions endured by some foreign workers, including one group from Nepal, in the past.
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. While capacity to address human trafficking is limited due to the country's small size, the government demonstrated hardly any evidence of efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes and to ensure that victims of trafficking receive access to protective services; therefore, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is placed on Tier 2 Watch list for a third consecutive year. St. Vincent and the Grenadines was not placed on Tier 3 per Section 107 of the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, however, as the government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is devoting sufficient resources to implement that plan.
Recommendations for St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Draft, enact, and implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking law; investigate and prosecute possible sex or labor trafficking cases under existing, relevant legislation until a comprehensive anti-trafficking law is in place; implement formal policies to guide officials in how to identify and assist suspected victims of forced prostitution and forced labor; identify and assist suspected trafficking victims; and educate the public about forced prostitution and forced labor by conducting a high-profile public awareness campaign.
The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines made minimal progress in anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. The government has no specific or comprehensive laws prohibiting trafficking in persons, though slavery and forced labor are both constitutionally prohibited. Officials have acknowledged the need for legislation criminalizing all forms of human trafficking in order to effectively prosecute such crimes, and the Governor General announced on January 2011 that the government plans to draft legislation in line with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. The government reported no forced labor or forced prostitution investigations, prosecutions, or convictions during the reporting period. Local observers have suggested that human trafficking official complicity may be a problem, but resource constraints and capacity, given the country's small population size, were also obstacles to law enforcement results. The government does not provide specialized training for government officials in how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute instances of trafficking, and no local NGO provides training to government officials at this time. In May 2010 the government provided in-kind contributions to an OAS human trafficking awareness training.
The Vincentian government did not show tangible progress in ensuring that victims of trafficking are identified and provided access to necessary services. The government did not proactively identify any suspected victims of human trafficking during the reporting period. The government did not have formal procedures in place to guide authorities in how to identify possible victims of human trafficking and refer them to available services. The government did not fund any trafficking-specific assistance programs, but the Ministry of Mobilization and Social Development reported it would be able to assist trafficking victims. The government provided some funding and building space to some local NGOs whose shelter, counseling, and other services for crime victims would also be available to trafficking victims. Under current laws, the government did not encourage victims' assistance in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking or other crimes, nor did it provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they would face hardship or retribution. St. Vincent and the Grenadines had no law or official procedures in place to ensure that victims would not be inappropriately punished for unlawful offenses committed solely as a direct result of being trafficked.
The government made some efforts to prevent trafficking and to increase the public's awareness of human trafficking in St. Vincent and the Grenadines during the last year. In February 2011, the government drafted a collaborative national action plan to combat human trafficking that included input from the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Social Mobilization, the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner of Police, the Director of Immigration, and a local NGO. The plan assigns responsibility to specific government agencies, commits some of their resources to anti-trafficking efforts, and contains action items that address many of the deficiencies identified by the TIP Report. The government did not conduct anti-trafficking information or education campaigns during the reporting period. The government made no efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The government has not identified a problem with child sex tourists. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.