St. Lucia is a source and 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, especially those working in domestic service, are the groups most vulnerable to human trafficking. There are indications that internal prostitution of St. Lucian children occurs; third-party prostitution of children under 18 is a form of human trafficking. Foreign women in prostitution are also vulnerable to sex trafficking. According to the police and NGOs, pimps, strip club operators, and brothel owners are the most likely sex trafficking perpetrators in the country. St. Lucian citizens are subjected to forced prostitution in other countries.
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 demonstrated significant progress in the identification and referral of potential trafficking victims during the reporting period. It increased its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts by launching two anti-trafficking investigations. It did not prosecute any trafficking offenders, including any government employees complicit in human trafficking. In addition, the government made few discernible efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period.
Recommendations for St. Lucia:
Continue to identify and provide assistance to trafficking victims, including prostituted children under 18; vigorously prosecute, convict, and punish perpetrators of forced labor and sex trafficking, including officials complicit in human trafficking; provide and encourage the use of standard operating procedures to guide police, immigration, labor, child protection, and social welfare officials in the proactive identification of trafficking victims and their referral to appropriate services; and provide police and other law enforcement officials with standard operating procedures on a victim-centered approach to the investigation of suspected trafficking cases.
The Government of St. Lucia made progress in addressing human trafficking through law enforcement means during the reporting period. The government prohibits all forms of trafficking through the 2010 Counter-Trafficking Act, which prescribes punishments of five to 10 years’ imprisonment with fines. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape. The government initiated two sex trafficking investigations during the reporting period; this represents an improvement from the previous year when it did not conduct any trafficking investigations. The government did not report any prosecutions of trafficking offenses or convictions of trafficking offenders or public officials complicit in human trafficking in 2013, 2012, or 2011. Security for sex trade establishments was reportedly sometimes provided by off-duty police officers, an arrangement that risks inhibiting law enforcement’s willingness to investigate allegations of human trafficking in the sex trade. There were no standard operating procedures in place to guide law enforcement authorities in how to handle trafficking cases. The government provided in-kind support to an IOM-led training workshop related to human trafficking for 32 participants from 20 government ministries and NGOs. The Ministry of National Security reported training 130 police officers in six trafficking awareness sessions from September 2013 through March 2014. The training included trafficking sensitization, an overview of St. Lucian trafficking laws, and coordination with outside organizations to address trafficking.
The government demonstrated important progress to identify and protect victims of human trafficking during the reporting period. In March 2014, the government identified four potential trafficking victims; this is an increase from no potential victims identified the previous year. The government partnered with IOM to ensure proper care and assistance for the victims and provide appropriate temporary shelter. The government reported running a system of informal shelters in which victims, including male children, could seek assistance. A government-funded NGO ran a shelter for girls, but it was not known if the facility assisted any trafficking victims. 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. Strong victim protection provisions in the 2010 Counter-Trafficking Act were intended to encourage victims to participate in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders. The act provides that the alleged consent of a victim to the exploitation, as well as the past sexual behavior of a victim, is irrelevant to status as a victim. The act also protects trafficking victims from prosecution for crimes committed as a direct result of their being trafficked and protects foreign victims from deportation. The government did not report using any of these protections during the reporting period.
The government made no discernible efforts to prevent human trafficking during the reporting period. There was no national campaign to raise awareness about forced labor and sex trafficking. An interagency taskforce drafted a human trafficking national action plan, which was undergoing review before being presented to the Cabinet of Ministers. The government did not have a campaign to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts or forced labor. The government has not identified a problem with child sex tourism in St. Lucia. In July 2013, St. Lucia became a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.