St. Maarten’s Prime Minister stresses human dignity in run up to Emancipation Day

POSTED: 06/26/12 12:28 PM

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams speaks at the opening of the five day workshop for law-enforcement agencies, government officials and non-governmental agencies that will address the protection of asylum seekers, refugees, victims of human trafficking and children adversely affected by migration. (PR MINPRESSXM Photo)

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has stressed that stakeholders must ensure that the people of St. Maarten are not consciously or otherwise participating in the trafficking of human beings. She was speaking at the opening of a five day workshop for law-enforcement agencies, government officials and non-governmental agencies that will address the protection of asylum seekers, refugees, victims of human trafficking and children adversely affected by migration.
The prime minister tied her statement to the fact that Emancipation Day will be celebrated in the coming days.
“St. Maarten, as a part of the Caribbean region, has also been part of the immigration flows and shifts which the Caribbean is known for. Many of our families had to leave this island in search of better economic opportunities and I am one of those whose parents needed to leave St. Maarten in search of a better life for their families. Now St. Maarten is on the receiving end in having people migrate to our country from not only the Caribbean region but also from outside. Therefore it behooves us to recognize that the attraction that St. Maarten has to immigrants and the risk of having people with bad intentions coercing and forcing vulnerable persons into being trafficked to our shores. Human dignity and the abolition of discrimination in our society is one of the most important tasks which are being tackled and it is for this reason that this workshop is so very essential in combating issues related to immigration and trafficking in humans,” Wescot-Williams said.
She also pointed out, “I wish there was no reason to have this workshop on St. Maarten. But there is a reason that this workshop is being held in our country considering the issues with regards to immigration and trafficking in humans.”

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