President of Parliament says she supports laws against human slavery and exploitation


President of Parliament Drs. Gracita Arrindell, says she supports the drafting of legislation that would make human slavery and exploitation of persons an illegal act and punishable by law.

The President of Parliament added that she was outraged after she heard about the alleged abuse inflicted on Chang by her employer.

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"I am extremely disappointed that these acts are still committed on Sint Maarten. The investigation is currently underway and justice must take its course. No human should undergo such treatment as alleged by the lady. If the employer is found to have infringed upon the rights of the employee based on our existing laws, then the penalties that exist should be applied.

"I read where prosecutors publicly stated that they face an uphill battle in tackling the issue, as there are no provisions in the penal code to directly persecute the case as human slavery or exploitation.

"As parliamentarians we need to move forward on this matter by gathering as much information as possible from various entities and organizations in order to have all the necessary information.

"From this point we can either have laws drafted or amend existing laws that can fight such alleged exploitation within our community.

"Perhaps the law co-sponsored by Member of Parliament Louie Laveist in the former Netherlands Antilles parliament is a starting point and should be brought forward for review and where needed amended to protect these women," President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell said on Tuesday.

The President of Parliament says she foresees a Central Committee or the Permanent Committee of Health Care, Social Development & Labour dealing with such a matter.

"We need to hear the views and gather information from the Public Prosecutors Office, Safe Haven, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Foundation and the International Organization for Migration.

"Members of Parliament will have the pertinent information that would allow us to move forward in drafting the relevant legislation," President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell concluded.