The government increased law enforcement efforts. The 2010 Counter-Trafficking Act prohibits all forms of trafficking, punishable by up to five years imprisonment or fines of up to 100,000 Eastern Caribbean dollars ($37,040), or both. These penalties are sufficiently stringent for labor trafficking, but with regard to sex trafficking, inadequate because they were not commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes, such as rape. The anti-trafficking act also criminalizes the unlawful holding of identity documents and allows for asset forfeiture of persons convicted of trafficking. The government initiated three trafficking investigations during the reporting period, an increase from one in 2015. The police closed all three investigations due to a lack of evidence. The police lacked personnel trained to identify trafficking.
The government did not initiate any prosecutions in the reporting period, compared to four in 2015 and none from 2011 to 2014. The director of public prosecutions retired in March 2016, and this position was empty until a new director was appointed in October 2016; this gap prevented any movement forward on existing cases during this time period. The government took steps to improve the efficiency of the justice system by creating a new position for a second high court judge to hear criminal trials; previously there was only one high court judge to hear all criminal trials.
The government continued to prosecute a March 2015 labor trafficking case, in which 70 students from Nepal, India, and the Philippines each paid an estimated $9,000 to attend a hospitality training school. Upon arrival, students found the academy closed, and nine students were forced to provide labor under the guise of hospitality internships. The government arrested and indicted four men (three men from India and one from Bangladesh) for labor trafficking. The prosecution remained in process at the end of the reporting period. The government had yet to convict a trafficker.
The government had never reported investigating, prosecuting, or convicting a public official complicit in trafficking. The police reported cooperation with the United States and other Caribbean countries to exchange information on trafficking cases. The government, in collaboration with an international organization and Interpol, trained immigration and police officers in investigative techniques and victim identification, referral, and assistance. The government provided a separate training for judicial authorities.