The government maintained inadequate protection efforts. Authorities did not report identifying any victims in 2020, compared with three sex trafficking victims in 2019 and 44 victims in 2018. Officials did not regularly perform proactive screenings among vulnerable groups, such as individuals in commercial sex, construction, supermarkets, and catering, despite a Kingdom-wide requirement to do so. Similarly, the government did not report screening vulnerable migrant groups. In practice, assistance for victims was contingent upon cooperation with law enforcement efforts to prosecute traffickers. The government’s procedures outlined standard services for victims of trafficking, including shelter, meals, medical attention, and psychological services, and assigned an agency to provide each service. However, the agencies responsible lacked dedicated funds to furnish these services; consequently, service provision was inconsistent, and the costs often fell to the DGC or international organizations. In 2020, the government provided shelter and healthcare services to one victim identified in a previous reporting period and the victim’s spouse, compared with providing such services to 12 victims in the previous reporting period; the victim continued to cooperate in the trial against his trafficker. Trafficking victims willing to participate in the trial against their traffickers could apply for a temporary residence permit valid for six months. Officials could renew the permit if the criminal investigation or prosecution of the trafficker continued; however, residence permits valid beyond the conclusion or dismissal of these criminal proceedings would be canceled. In practice, funding shortfalls delayed processing of permit applications, creating uncertainty for foreign trafficking victims otherwise vulnerable to deportation. Foreign victims who did not participate in investigations against their traffickers were not eligible for temporary residence permits and could not legally remain in Curaçao; the government sometimes deported victims and potential victims present in the country illegally, including Venezuelan nationals. Observers reported the pandemic likely contributed to fewer deportations during the reporting period. Through a separate administrative process, victims were eligible to apply for temporary work permits; however, many victims could not afford the costs related to the application.
In 2020, the government worked with an international organization to develop a comprehensive handbook for victim identification and referral procedures; although the government approved the new procedures, it had not yet implemented or trained relevant officials on them. Under the new system, officials would refer all potential trafficking victims to the victim support bureau (SSHC) and the DGC. The government did not operate any specialized shelters for trafficking victims. The government could place a limited number of trafficking victims—adult women and their children up to 12 years of age—in an NGO shelter for victims of domestic violence that could accommodate up to eight individuals; in 2020, an increase in domestic violence cases meant the shelter had reduced capacity to accommodate trafficking victims. The government could refer child trafficking victims to guardianship councils for placement in boarding school or foster care; the government did not assist any child trafficking victims in 2020. Authorities reported difficulty arranging housing for male victims due to budget constraints; the government did not report any shelters for male victims. Authorities required victims to check in with shelter staff when leaving the facility. When existing shelter facilities reached maximum capacity, the government placed victims in short-term government-funded accommodations. Under the 2017-2021 national action plan (NAP), victims could reflect for 30 days before deciding to participate in the trial against their trafficker; however, the government did not report implementing the reflection period in 2019 or 2020. The government reported approximately 8,000 Dutch guilder ($4,490) in trafficking victim assistance expenditures in 2020. The SSHC, which supported victims of all crimes, operated with a budget of 307,000 guilder ($172,470). Foreign victims were entitled to similar care as domestic victims but did not have access to publicly funded medical insurance; adequate medical insurance was a requirement to apply for the temporary residence permit. Kingdom evaluators determined officials inconsistently informed victims of their rights as trafficking victims, especially foreign victims, and lacked written resources enumerating these rights in common languages.