Saint Lucia remains under the US State Department’s Tier 2 Watch List for its anti-human trafficking efforts, making it the fifth consecutive year in that category.
In its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, the US acknowledged that Saint Lucia has made significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but does not fully comply.
Overall, the US report said Saint Lucia made a few “discernible efforts” to prevent trafficking.
The issue involving dozens of foreign nationals from Nepal, India and the Philippines being trafficked here, was highlighted in the report.
While the report noted that an inter-agency anti-trafficking task force was activated to deal with this issue, it said concerns arose about a lack of coordination among agencies and with NGOs.
It highlighted the fact that the government investigated and charged four men with potential trafficking, internet fraud, and money laundering crimes involving the Asian youth.
“This represents an increase from the previous year when it did not initiate any investigations nor charge any trafficking defendants,” the report stated.
The government did not report prosecuting or convicting any traffickers or public officials complicit in trafficking in the past four years.
The US report also said officials provided ongoing assistance to four previously identified sex trafficking victims and trained relevant professionals on trafficking.
It was also highlighted that Saint Lucia remains a source and destination country for persons subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.
“Legal and illegal immigrants from the Caribbean and South Asia, especially those working in domestic service, are the groups most vulnerable to human trafficking,” the report said.
The report further states that there are indications of internal prostitution of St. Lucian children, third-party prostitution of children under 18 is a form of human trafficking.
It was also noted that foreign women in prostitution are also vulnerable to sex trafficking.
According to police and NGOs, pimps, strip club operators, and brothel owners are the most likely sex trafficking perpetrators in Saint Lucia.
The report said, “St. Lucian citizens are subjected to trafficking in the United Kingdom and other Caribbean countries. Off duty police officers sometimes provided security for sex trade establishments.”