US Re­port: Hu­man traf­fick­ing mea­sures In­ad­e­quate

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The Saint Lu­cia gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to iden­tify and pro­tect hu­man traf­fick­ing vic­tims re­main in­ad­e­quate.

That’s the con­clu­sion of the US 2016 Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons re­port.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the gov­ern­ment here does not fully meet the min­i­mum stan­dards for the elim­i­na­tion of traf­fick­ing. But it noted that sig­nif­i­cant ef­forts to do so are be­ing made. Nev­er­the­less, the doc­u­ment noted that de­spite th­ese mea­sures, the gov­ern­ment did not demon­strate over­all in­creas­ing anti-traf­fick­ing ef­forts com­pared to the previous re­port­ing pe­riod. “Saint Lu­cia is a source and des­ti­na­tion coun­try for men, women, and chil­dren sub­jected to sex traf­fick­ing and forced la­bor,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port re­leased by the US State Depart­ment.

It ob­served that doc­u­mented and un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants from the Caribbean and South Asia, in­clud­ing do­mes­tic work­ers, are the groups most vul­ner­a­ble to hu­man traf­fick­ing.

The re­port noted that lo­cal and for­eign chil­dren are sub­jected to sex traf­fick­ing, in­clud­ing by par­ents and care­givers.

“For­eign women in pros­ti­tu­tion are also vul­ner­a­ble to sex traf­fick­ing,” it said, adding that NGOs re­port dis­ad­van­taged young women from ru­ral ar­eas are vul­ner­a­ble as well.

It dis­closed that ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment, busi­ness own­ers from Saint Lu­cia, In­dia, China, Cuba, and Rus­sia are the most likely traf­fick­ing per­pe­tra­tors.

Saint Lu­cia has been placed on the Tier 2 Watch List. Ac­cord­ing to the United States State Depart­ment, the Tier 2 Watch List com­prises coun­tries whose gov­ern­ments do not fully com­ply with the min­i­mum stan­dards of the Traf­fick­ing Vic­tims Pro­tec­tion Act, but are mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant ef­forts to do so.

The list also in­cludes coun­tries where the ab­so­lute num­ber of vic­tims of se­vere forms of traf­fick­ing is very sig­nif­i­cant or is sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing and there is a fail­ure to pro­vide ev­i­dence of in­creas­ing ef­forts to com­bat se­vere forms of traf­fick­ing in per­sons from the previous year.

The US re­port rec­om­mends that Saint Lu­cia vig­or­ously pros­e­cute, con­vict, and pun­ish per­pe­tra­tors of forced la­bor and sex traf­fick­ing, in­clud­ing of­fi­cials com­plicit in hu­man traf­fick­ing.

It also urges the au­thor­i­ties here to take mea­sures, re­spec­tive of due process, to en­hance the speed with which traf­fick­ing cases are pros­e­cuted.

The re­port said the gov­ern­ment ini­ti­ated one la­bor traf­fick­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the re­port­ing pe­riod, and re­ported four pros­e­cu­tions and no con­vic­tions.

“The gov­ern­ment has never con­victed a traf­ficker,” it re­ported.

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