According to the report “Safety image Caribbean Netherlands 2013. Crime, violation of regulations and public nuisance on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba” which was released by Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten last week, there is a suspicion that work-related exploitation exists.
Researchers who drew up a report on crime and security in the Caribbean Netherlands last year have found indications of labour-related exploitation on Bonaire and St. Eustatius, but not on Saba. Prostitution is present on Bonaire and St. Eustatius, but not found on Saba.
When it comes to human smuggling, the extent of illegal border crossing by air is limited in the three public entities. The border controls at Bonaire’s airport are frequent and structural while illegal border crossing on St. Eustatius and Saba, by way of the airport, is not very likely due to the small scale of the airport’s operations.
There is little insight into any illegal border-crossing by sea. The “blue border” is highly vulnerable on Bonaire and Statia. There is hardly any control in this area, also due to the limited capacity that is available. St. Eustatius may be one of the islands that is used as an intermediate stop in the human smuggling route. It cannot be excluded that Saba also functions as a transit island, although its coast seems less suitable for this purpose than the coast of St. Eustatius. Due to the small scale of the islands and the corresponding social control, any illegal residents do not remain unnoticed.