The government increased prevention efforts. The government adopted a new annual NAP for 2020-2021, which designated the TIP Working Group as the primary interdepartmental group responsible for monitoring and implementing the NAP, coordinating government efforts to combat trafficking, and making recommendations to the government, including on legislation. The TIP Working Group, coordinated by the Director of Operations of the Ministry of Justice and Police, composed of representatives of the police, prosecutor’s office, and Ministries of Justice and Police, Defense (immigration), Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Social Affairs, and reported to the Minister of Justice and Police on the effectiveness of the NAP and addressed emerging issues on a whole of government basis. The incoming government terminated the TIP Working Group’s mandate in July 2020 and did not formally restore it until November 2020; however, the members of the TIP Working Group remained active in coordinating efforts, including drafting the NAP. The main priorities of the plan were to strengthen security at the borders, raise awareness of criminal activities related to trafficking, create a victim identification procedure, promote safe return of victims to their country of origin, and provide adequate medical treatment and shelter to victims with legal status. The government did not seek input from survivors or NGOs in drafting the NAP. The government allocated 2.4 million SRD ($167,950) in 2020 to the agencies that combat trafficking, although that amount was not specifically allocated for trafficking. Despite the pandemic and a severe economic crisis, the government reported it did not divert financial resources from human trafficking, but placed implementation of the plan on hold because of the pandemic. Authorities struggled to compile data due to pandemic-related travel restrictions and delays.
The government continued to operate a 24-hour anti-trafficking hotline in the interagency National Command Center. The hotline primarily operated in Dutch, English, and Sranan Tongo. The government made informational flyers and brochures in different languages with the anti-trafficking hotline number and posted the flyers at multiple entry points, police stations, doctors’ offices, and other locations. The government halted other awareness campaign activities because of the pandemic. The government did not conduct research on trafficking during the reporting period. The government did not publicly post an assessment of its anti-trafficking efforts but made the information available upon request.
Labor laws prohibited employers, recruiters, and labor agents from charging workers recruitment fees, confiscating workers’ passports or travel documents, switching contracts without workers’ consent, or withholding wages as a means of keeping workers in a state of compelled service. Labor laws required all employment agencies to be licensed before recruiting domestic and foreign employees, and they had to receive permission from the Ministry of Labor before entering into work mediation with employees. The Labor Inspectorate under the Ministry of Labor increased its staffing from 50 to 70 people and appointed a new head as part of its reorganization. The government assigned the Labor Inspectorate as the lead agency responsible for overseeing the implementation of pandemic protocols in different business sectors, which significantly increased its reach to conduct regular inspections; however, the government did not provide sufficient funding, staffing, or equipment to cover all tasks. Most inspections were unannounced, but the law did not allow labor inspectors to inspect private homes or farms, and police had to be escorted and have a special warrant for any inspections on private property. The government reported fining businesses up to 250 SRD ($17.50) for each foreign worker employed without having the proper registration paperwork. Labor inspectors also screened for indicators of human trafficking but did not report identifying any labor trafficking cases through such measures among its increased inspections during the reporting period. No inspectors were solely dedicated to child labor, but the government trained all inspectors to identify child labor and instructed them how to handle suspected cases, with the Labor Inspectorate required to report alleged cases of child labor and forced labor to the police within 45 minutes. The government warned businesses against hiring foreign workers without proper documentation and provided information on employment scams and fraudulent job offerings to businesses and workers through print and social media and on television, including public service announcements with contact information for questions or concerns. Authorities also could accept information on labor violations reported by the public. Migrant workers could not enter and exit the country, except for repatriation, after the borders closed in March 2020. The government only allowed repatriation flights between the United States, Netherlands, Cuba, Haiti, and Dominican Republic, along with occasional charter flights to Aruba and Brazil. Foreigners who were in the country when the borders closed and could not repatriate could register, have their stay permits extended, and work temporarily. The government provided this service to persons who entered the country legally, but overstayed, and whose stay permit expired before the borders were closed. Limited unemployment benefits only went to citizens. The government did not make efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts. The government did not make efforts to reduce participation in international and domestic child sex tourism.