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St. Maarten's Justice ministry opens hotline for human trafficking victims


PHILIPSBURG–The Ministry of Justice National Reporting Bureau on Human Trafficking on Sunday released its number for human trafficking victims.

Persons or victims of exploitation can contact the following telephone number (+721) 542-2537 from Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm, or email naticotip@gmail.comto provide confidential information about human exploitation.

Trafficking in human beings is a crime under international and national laws. No one volunteers to be exploited, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday. Traffickers frequently recruit people through fraudulent advertisements promising legitimate jobs as hostesses, and domestics. There are signs when commercial establishments are holding people against their will.

The National Reporting Bureau on Human Trafficking has brochures in a number of languages, English, Spanish and Dutch. “If you know somebody who is being exploited, ask for help by contacting the number above or sending an email,” the department said.

St. Maarten will be observing Human Trafficking Day within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on October 18.

This is in connection with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed by the Ministers of Justice of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten in June 2011 to intensify cooperation and make it a priority to fight together within the Kingdom against human trafficking and smuggling.

The fight against human trafficking and exploitation is a top priority for the Government of St. Maarten.

Some 1.2 million Children are trafficked every year according to an estimate from UNICEF. Between 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year, and approximately 80 per cent are women and girls, and up to 50 per cent are minors the US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2007 stated.

At least 20.9 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide. Conservative research from 2012 estimated trafficking in victims as comprising some 44 per cent of this figure (ILO 2012 Global Estimate of Forced Labour).

Virtually every country in the world is affected by these crimes. The challenge for all countries, rich and poor, is to target the criminals who exploit desperate people and to protect and assist victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants, many of whom endure unimaginable hardships in their bid for a better life.

St. Maarten supports the outcome of the recent United Nations (UN) General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development held early October during the UN General Assembly’s 68th Session in New York which is to ensure that human rights protection is integrated into the criminal justice responses to human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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