The implementation of various arrangements on tackling trafficking in human beings and the smuggling people in the Caribbean Netherlands needs to be improved. There is insufficient insight on the nature and extent of human trafficking and smuggling. This is the conclusion of the Law Enforcement Council in its inspection report ‘Tackling trafficking in human beings and people smuggling’.
Trafficking in human beings is a form of exploitation and a crime against personal freedom. Human smuggling concerns the providing of assistance in illegal border crossings. Arrangements have been made within the Kingdom to combat and prevent these serious crimes. The Council welcomes the arrangements that have been established. However, applying this into practice needs improvement.
This is especially the case with regard to the so-called thematic register announced in 2017, a register that should be able to provide an insight on the nature and extent of trafficking in human beings and smuggling within the Caribbean Netherlands islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. In this register, signals from all involved organizations should be collected in order to be analyzed. Three years later the register has not been implemented properly and does not yet contain any information.
The Council considers the failure of implementing the thematic register to be an obstacle and a risk to the intended comprehensive approach to human trafficking and human smuggling. In earlier inspection reports the Council drew attention to the need of professionalization of the intelligence organization of the police force.
The Council made eight recommendations to the Netherlands Minister of Justice and Security. For example, with regard to cooperation, the Council recommends that the Caribbean Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten work on building a joint and regional (Caribbean) information position in the area of human trafficking and smuggling. The Council believes it is necessary to appoint a dedicated project manager to implement the thematic register, who regularly reports about the progress.
The Corona crisis may very well have consequences for human trafficking and human smuggling. The brothel in Bonaire is closed, which may result in prostitution moving to the illegal circuit. There is also a risk that more undocumented immigrants will illegally cross the sea from Venezuela to the Dutch Caribbean. All the more reason for the minister to implement the recommendations. The Council awaits the response of the minister to its report and recommendations.
The Council will closely monitor the implementation of its report in practice. The Council will include its findings in a wider research into the follow-up of recommendations by justice organizations in the Caribbean Netherlands, to be launched in 2020.
The Council’s inspection report is public. It has been posted on the Council’s website: www.raadrechtshandhaving.com