RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ST. LUCIA
The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period; therefore St. Lucia remained on Tier 2.
Increase efforts to identify victims; investigate, prosecute, convict, and punish perpetrators of forced labor and sex trafficking; amend the anti-trafficking law to remove sentencing provisions that allow fines in lieu of imprisonment; provide sufficient resources to fully implement the 2015-2018 national action plan; develop a national action for the period beyond 2018; finalize and adopt standard operating procedures on a victim-centered approach to guide police, immigration, labor, child protection, judicial, and social welfare officials on victim identification and referral; continue to train government officials to implement procedures to proactively identify labor and sex trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as children exploited in sex trafficking and migrant workers in domestic service, and refer them to appropriate services; develop and implement labor recruitment policies to prevent trafficking; provide legal mechanisms for victims to work and receive formal residency status; and increase efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex and forced labor.
Honourable Allen Michael Chastanet
Senator the Honourable Hermangild Francis
Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security
The 2010 anti-trafficking act contained victim protection provisions, such as privacy and witness protection, to encourage victims to participate in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. The anti-trafficking task force was working to finalize standard operating procedures (SOPs) for victim identification and referral, but was unable to complete them due to a lack of technical expertise. At the end of the reporting period, the government sought out, collaborated with, and provided partial assistance to an international organization (along with financial assistance of a foreign government) to obtain the necessary technical expertise to finish the SOPs in 2018.
The 2010 Counter-Trafficking Act criminalized sex and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of up to five years imprisonment or fines up to 100,000 Eastern Caribbean dollars ($37,040). This penalty was sufficiently stringent; however, by allowing for a fine in lieu of imprisonment, the prescribed punishment for sex trafficking was not commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. The government did not conduct any investigations during the reporting period; this compared to three in 2016 and one in 2015. The police reported monitoring suspicious establishments.
The government maintained efforts to prevent trafficking. The home affairs, justice, and national security ministry led an anti-trafficking task force, consisting of relevant agencies and NGOs, in implementing the national action plan for 2015-2018.
The task force provided some resources and worked with an NGO to design brochures and the government printed and distributed them in post offices and airports. The gender office worked with youth-related organizations to conduct awareness campaigns in secondary schools; the government also worked with an international organization to hold focus groups in secondary schools to raise awareness.
As reported over the past five years, St. Lucia is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Local adolescents are the groups most vulnerable to trafficking. Documented and undocumented migrants from the Caribbean and South Asia, including domestic workers, are also vulnerable to trafficking. Local children are subjected to sex trafficking. Government officials, civil society, and educators reported St. Lucian children from economically disadvantaged families are vulnerable to unorganized commercial sexual exploitation often encouraged or forced by caretakers in exchange for goods or services. Foreign women who work in strip clubs and in prostitution are also vulnerable to sex trafficking. NGOs report disadvantaged young women from rural areas are vulnerable to sex trafficking. According to the government, business owners from St. Lucia, India, China, Cuba, and Russia are the most likely trafficking perpetrators in the country. Civil society has also reported women, or in some cases older teenagers, recruiting younger adolescents to provide transactional sex with adults at street parties.