Editorial: St. Maarten authorities display “standard response” when women escape from brothels

POSTED: 06/29/14 4:54 PM

Pavlov reaction

We’re not very sensitive to remarks foreign countries make about our behavior, but this one deserves a bit more than average attention. The American Trafficking in Persons report observes that authorities in St. Maarten display a “standard response” – aka Pavlov reaction – when women escape from local brothels.

That reaction is to deport the escapees, while there is probably every reason to investigate why they escaped in the first place.

Law enforcement cannot argue that it has better things to do, because when we allow women and girls to become victims of sex trafficking within our borders we do not only fail them, we also fail ourselves.

Human rights are universal and women and girls who work in the local sex industry are entitled to decent treatment and to protection against exploitation.

With Emancipation Day coming up, this seems to be the right moment to address the modern day slavery that is happening every day right under our very noses.

So far, not a single politician has made an issue of this.

That silence tells us a lot.

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