Published On: Sat, Apr 27th, 2024

Government ignores recommendations to update its prostitution-policy

PHILIPSBURG — St. Maarten structurally ignores recommendation from the Law Enforcement Council. In 2016, the Council issued six recommendation to improve the country’s policies towards prostitution. Seven years later, none of these recommendations have been executed, the Council notes in a report about human trafficking and prostitution that was published in March 2024.

“The continued uncertainty in legislation and policy for prostitution complicates prostitution-related criminality and makes the position of sex workers in St. Maarten more vulnerable,” the Council wrote already in a report published in 2021.

People interviewed by the Council said that progress is complicated especially in the field of legislation, and policy in the field of chain-cooperation, effective controls, sharing of information between administrative and criminal enforcement departments and adequate services.

Key bottlenecks are the lack of adequate legislation, updating of policies and inter-ministerial involvement and responsibility.

All of those interviewed expressed serious concerns about the lack of adequate shelter for victims, saying that this situation is indefensible and unsustainable.

The Law Enforcement Council concludes that there is insufficient progress with the prostitution-policy and its enforcement. The Council emphasizes the importance of administrative support and cooperation between the ministries that are involved with the matter and the creation of legislation and updating the prostitution-policy. The Council urgently calls on the minister to take the initiative.

If the minister structurally fails to follow up the Council’s recommendations it has the authority to inform the Kingdom Council of Ministers about it, the report warns.