Justice Ministry condones prostitution and human trafficking: Trafficking of women continues unhindered

POSTED: 02/5/13 12:33 PM

St. Maarten – If it were up to the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) faction in the municipal council of Amsterdam brothels where there is a suspicion of human trafficking or coercion will get a so-called negative work-advice in the future.

The CDA-faction submitted an initiative-proposal to the council. Faction leader Marijke Shahsavari-Jansen told the Dutch city-newspaper Het Parool: “By issuing a negative advice the municipality is in a better position to take responsibility to protect the victims of human trafficking. We won’t have to supervise anymore how girls go to work while we know that it is not okay.”

In the battle against human trafficking it is often legally complicated to get a conviction, also when there are signals that point towards coercion or human trafficking. In St. Maarten the trafficking of women to local brothels continues unhindered.

The municipality of Amsterdam ought to include in its regulations that brothel-operators have to do everything possible to prevent coercion and human trafficking. If they do not comply, they run the risk of losing their license. The Hague has already such rules in place.

If it turns out that a certain case is indeed human trafficking, the trafficker can be prosecuted in criminal court, while the brothel-operator could lose his license.

In St. Maarten the Justice Ministry does not only condone prostitution, it also by extension condones human trafficking. The government even acknowledges this in its prostitution policy.

In a description of the position of prostituted in St. Maarten, the policy notes in article 2.8.3: “Prostitutes have a vulnerable position that could easily be abused by the brothel-operator and the customer. Most of the women are informed about the purpose of their trip to St. Maarten. Only about the working and living conditions often nothing is said beforehand. It can be noted that this is trafficking of women, that is: transporting people across national borders with the objective to put them to work in prostitution. Whether the woman knows that she is hired to work in the prostitution in another country is irrelevant.”

The policy furthermore notes that “those who transport women for this purpose and pre-finance the costs of airline tickets and initial costs of living are also guilty of the trafficking of women.”

When the Court in First Instance sentenced Border Bar owner Angel Priest in March of last year to 54 months imprisonment (with 18 months suspended) the court ruled that the defendant was guilty of repeatedly trafficking women and of robbing them of their freedom.

But while the circumstances at the Border Bar may have been extreme, the trafficking of women to other brothels on the island continues without any interference by the law.

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Justice Ministry condones prostitution and human trafficking: Trafficking of women continues unhindered by

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