FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: W.J. Remie
Phone: 461-3066 ext. 2240
On June 30, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry released the 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the U.S. government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue.
In the TIP Report, the Department of State places each country onto one of four tiers based on the extent of their governments’ efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” found in U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and the UN Protocol on human trafficking.
For the first time, Sint Maarten has been highlighted as a Tier One country in the Secretary’s report, meaning that the Government of Sint Maarten fully met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking during the reporting period. During the reporting period, In 2015, the government conducted one of the largest human trafficking investigations in Sint Maarten’s history, which led to the arrest of six suspects on charges of human trafficking; the rescue of 14 sex trafficking victims; and, following close cooperation with authorities in the Dominican Republic, identification of 35 additional victims previously employed by the brothel. The government continued to implement a victim-centered approach for providing services to identified trafficking victims and increased efforts on awareness programs to prevent human trafficking.
“This is an extraordinary moment for the advocates, law enforcement officers, and government employees from Sint Maarten who are working tirelessly every day to prosecute traffickers, protect victims, and prevent human trafficking. Their work and coordination has made this possible, and we applaud their efforts,” said U.S. Consul General Margaret D. Hawthorne.
While Tier 1 is the highest ranking, it does not mean that a country has no human trafficking problem. On the contrary, a Tier 1 ranking indicates that a government has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards. Each year, governments need to demonstrate appreciable progress in combating trafficking to maintain a Tier 1 ranking.