August 2, 2023 -The Government of Sint Maarten is taking its Tier III Trafficking in Persons ranking, received from the United States Department of State, in June 2023, seriously. Based on the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of 2019, enacted by all the countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the stage for instrumenting a collaborative effort in combatting the crimes of human trafficking and human smuggling on each territory is organized. This policy invites the opportunity for mutual cooperation on the topic of human trafficking and migrant smuggling on both repressive and administrative sides of execution. By effectively maintaining a thematic barrier model on Prevention, Prosecution, Protection, and Partnership, each territory is represented by a National Coordinator who shares the responsibility of executing the MOU with the Procurer General of the Public Prosecutors Office(s), which for Sint Maarten is led by the Public Prosecutors Office of Sint Maarten.
For this Summer Session of training, the Coordination Center on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Aruba (CMMA) was invited by the Honorable Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna Richardson, and the National Reporting Center (NRC) on Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling Sint Maarten to provide a basic training session on human trafficking and migrant smuggling for government staff across the migration and justice chains.
The training sessions opened by the Acting Secretary General of Justice, Ms. Florence Marlin took place from July 11th to July 13th, 2023, and were attended by 175 participants representing several government departments and services. The curriculum covered a wide range of essential topics, including relevant articles in the Sint Maarten Penal Code, Sint Maarten case law on human trafficking, differences between human trafficking and migrant smuggling, indicators of human trafficking, labor trafficking and sex trafficking specifics, the impact of technology on human trafficking, special attention of additional the risk for minors, adequate responses to possible cases of human trafficking, and the reason why gaining cooperation by victims (once identified) is always challenging.
Participants included representatives from The Civil Registry, The Public Prosecutors Office, The Inspectorate of VSA, The Inspectorate of TEATT, The Fire Department, The Department of Labor Permits, The Court of Guardianship, The Police Force of Sint Maarten, The Customs Department, The Immigration and Border Protection Service, The House of Detention, The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard, The Royal Dutch Military Police, and The Financial Intelligence Unit of Sint Maarten.
This training is an important step taken by the Government of Sint Maarten to raise its collective awareness of human trafficking and human smuggling and heighten alertness and its response to these crimes. The Ministry of Justice will continue its mission of executing the MOU, so Sint Maarten can improve on its current Tier 3 ranking. The Minister of Justice supports the training of all stakeholders who may confront these crimes. The Ministry of Justice will also secure a location where the NRC can conduct its day outreach and protection efforts to the public at large.
At the closing of the session, the Honorable Minister of Justice, Ms. Anna Richardson, thanked the national coordinators of Aruba, Mrs. Jeanette Baars-Richardson and Sint Maarten, Mr. Erling Hoeve, for delivering this training initiative, and shared a willingness to see more built on this cooperation in the future. On behalf of The Government of Sint Maarten, the NRC and Minister of Justice would like to thank the Government of Aruba, the Honorable Prime Minister of Aruba, Ms. Evelyna Wever-Croes, and the Honorable Minister of Justice and Social Affairs, Mr. Rocco Tjon, for their continued support and collaboration.