St. Lucia is a 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, reportedly are the groups most vulnerable to human trafficking. There are indications children under 18 are coerced to engage in commercial sex in St. Lucia. Sex trafficking victims are likely found among foreign women in prostitution. According to the police and NGOs, the most likely sex trafficking perpetrators in the country are pimps, strip club operators, and brothel owners.
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. Despite these limited steps, the government did not demonstrate evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking over the previous year; therefore, St. Lucia is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. During the reporting period, the government did not make progress in proactively identifying and assisting suspected trafficking victims or prosecuting trafficking offenders.
Recommendations for St. Lucia: Provide 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; provide police and other law enforcement officials with standard operating procedures on a victim- centered approach in the investigation of suspected trafficking cases; vigorously prosecute, convict, and punish perpetrators of forced labor and sex trafficking, including officials complicit in human trafficking; work with IOM to provide safe repatriation procedures for foreign victims who would like to return home; and accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.
The Government of St. Lucia did not make 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 punishment of five to 10 years’ imprisonment with fines. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with other serious crimes, such as rape. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions or convictions of trafficking offenders or public officials complicit in human trafficking in 2012, nor in 2011. In an apparent conflict of interest, 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 made efforts to protect victims of human trafficking during the reporting period, despite resource and capacity restraints. The government funded an NGO that has assisted trafficking victims in the past. The government also reportedly ran a system of informal shelters in which victims, including male children, could seek assistance. A government-funded NGO ran a day-use shelter for girls, though there was no 24-hour residential shelter currently in the country for girls. Magistrates were forced to choose between prison or a mental institution in which to place girls needing protection. 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 in place 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 her 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. However, 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 forced prostitution. The government did not yet establish the inter-ministerial taskforce required by the human trafficking act. 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. St. Lucia is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.