U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Suriname

Suriname (Tier 2 Watch List)

Suriname is principally a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Men, women, and children are also trafficked internally for forced domestic and commercial labor and sexual exploitation. Most women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation come from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Colombia; they either remain in Suriname or continue to Europe for additional sexual exploitation. Girls from rural areas are promised work in cities and then trapped in situations of domestic servitude or sexual exploitation; other children are trafficked for sexual exploitation to mining camps in Suriname's remote interior. Chinese nationals transiting Suriname risk debt bondage to migrant smugglers who place them into 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. The government remains on Tier 2 Watch List for a second year for its failure to show evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking, particularly in its lack of progress in law enforcement action against traffickers. The government should investigate illegal migration, which often veils trafficking operations, and avoid summary deportations of victims who could assist in building cases against their traffickers. Government leaders should publicly support a "no tolerance" policy for officials implicated in trafficking, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

Prosecution

Suriname still lacks a comprehensive law to combat trafficking. Existing statutes prohibited slavery, migrant smuggling, and pimping but were not adequately enforced and they treated forced labor as a misdemeanor offense. Authorities failed to screen foreign women who were possible victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation before deporting them for immigration violations. Prosecutors and police received anti-trafficking training and created operations manuals to assist officers in identifying and investigating cases. Late in 2004, the government created a special police anti-trafficking unit. The police cooperated with Curacao officials in a case that resulted in convictions for trafficking of children to the Netherlands Antilles. Cooperation with Guyanese officials led to the arrest in December 2004 of a Surinamese official for trafficking young Guyanese girls for sexual exploitation. The government created a special section in the police fraud unit to investigate public corruption. No other investigations, prosecutions, or convictions related to trafficking were reported.

Protection

The government lacked resources and efforts to assist victims were inadequate over the last year. It provided no assistance specifically for trafficking victims. The government provided police with some training on identifying victims but more training is necessary. Potential trafficking victims typically faced detention and deportation for migration violations. Mechanisms for coordinating assistance with a foreign victim's embassy were only available to victims with legal immigration status. Victims could file suit against traffickers. In May 2004, the government established a special victims unit and telephone hotline to handle reports of trafficking and complaints from victims.

Prevention

The government made a good faith effort to educate the public and prevent trafficking during the reporting period. Radio and television spots in early 2004 and newspaper articles including quotes from senior public officials late in the year brought the issue to the public's attention. The government supported public awareness campaigns to prevent internal trafficking of children. It funded campaigns about the worst forms of child labor, including prostitution, conducted by the Surinamese Labor College, and educated teachers, families, and community leaders about the detrimental effects of child exploitation. The government also finalized its National Plan of Action in November 2004 and provided logistical support for IOM workshops on preventing trafficking and identifying and working with victims.

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