WILLEMSTAD - The PAR faction in parliament has raised significant concerns regarding human trafficking and the influx of minors entering Curaçao illegally. In a letter addressed to the Minister of Justice, they've called attention to these pressing issues and the measures taken by Curaçao to combat them.
Recent incidents involving illegal entries into the country have prompted PAR's concerns. In the past weeks, personnel from both the Coast Guard and the Police Force (KPC) have documented several instances of boats entering Curaçao illegally. These vessels have been frequently associated with illicit activities, such as drug and weapon smuggling, often involving underage individuals. Notably, a 5-year-old child was discovered aboard one of these boats.
The PAR faction is deeply troubled by these developments, particularly the global increase in cases of human trafficking and child trafficking. Emerging networks are facilitating the transportation of children from their home countries, often with the intent of engaging them in prostitution or illegal labor.
"Human trafficking is a grave violation of human rights and is subject to legal penalties under our laws. The government must take all necessary actions to prevent Curaçao from being exploited such illicit activities. Curaçao's downgrade to Tier 3 in the 2021 TIP Report underscores the urgency of addressing human trafficking and implementing effective preventive measures."
In response to these concerns, the PAR faction has submitted a series of questions to the Minister:
What protocols and methods are employed by the government when dealing with minors who enter the country illegally, whether by sea or air?
How does the government verify the identity of these minors, and what procedures are in place for this purpose?
What provisions are in place to ensure the well-being and protection of these minors while in Curaçao? (For confidentiality reasons concerning the minors, this question may be answered in a restricted inquiry format.) What is the maximum allowable duration for separating a minor from their guardian?
In cases where child trafficking is suspected, what procedures are followed for investigation and intervention?
Over the past three years, can the Minister provide Parliament with information regarding the number of investigations conducted into child trafficking, the confirmed cases, and the legal actions taken?