The government maintained protection efforts. Police identified five victims of sex trafficking and no victims of forced labor, a decrease from the 12 victims identified in 2015. All five victims received medical assistance and basic services, four victims were provided shelter, and one received counseling. The government did not provide counseling services to all the victims due to foreign language constraints. The government opened a shelter dedicated for women and girl trafficking victims, which occupied a separate annex within an existing domestic violence shelter; the shelter accommodated three adult female victims and one male child victim during the reporting period.
The ATU assisted military police and immigration officials on identifying and interviewing potential trafficking victims. In 2016, the ATU conducted random checks of international flights approximately three times a week and performed random inspections of brothels, looking for trafficking indicators. Health care workers did not screen for trafficking indicators among persons in prostitution. Victim identification efforts in the country’s interior were limited. There were no formal procedures to refer victims to care. The ATU continued to have oversight of victim shelter and services, including medical care. The government did not report what funding, if any, it provided to NGOs for victim assistance; however, the anti-trafficking working group had meetings with NGOs to establish protocols for future cooperation on victim assistance and prevention efforts.
The government did not sponsor any programs to facilitate victims’ reintegration, such as a witness-protection program or long-term care. Victims had the option of pursuing civil suits against their traffickers but no such cases were reported. To encourage victims to participate in the investigation against their traffickers, courts implemented a policy of obtaining testimony from victims, which can serve as evidence, in the early stages of the judicial investigation, in case victims were not available during the trial process. Foreign victims who gave statements were given the opportunity to return to their countries of origin or remain in Suriname. Foreign victims could apply to receive work or residency permits on the same basis as any foreign citizen. The government did not have legal alternatives to foreign victims’ removal to countries where they would face hardship or retribution. It was unclear whether the government penalized victims for crimes committed as a direct result of being subjected to trafficking.