The government decreased prosecution efforts. Article 334 of the criminal code criminalized sex trafficking and labor trafficking and prescribed penalties of up to nine years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 Surinamese dollars (SRD) ($13,300) for offenses involving a victim 16 years of age or older, and up to 12 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 SRD ($13,300) for those involving a victim under the age of 16. These penalties were sufficiently stringent and, with respect to sex trafficking, commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Police reported three investigations (one for sex trafficking of a child, one for sex trafficking of an adult, one for labor trafficking of an adult), a decrease from 10 in 2017. The government launched trafficking investigations when discovering cases of children exploited in prostitution, including in cases where the parents were the traffickers. After evidence was burned in a fire, the government terminated the 2015 investigation of Alien Affairs Department staff who sold residence permits to criminal networks allegedly using the documents to exploit Chinese workers in forced labor. The prosecutor’s office did not initiate any new prosecutions in 2018, compared with four new prosecutions for sex trafficking in 2017. The government convicted seven traffickers in two cases of sex trafficking, an increase from three traffickers in 2017, with prison sentences ranging from one to five years. The court ensured that convicted traffickers stayed in prison after pre-trial detention to serve their full terms of three and five year sentences. The government did not report the status of four prosecutions involving 12 suspected traffickers initiated in previous years. The government did not report any new investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in trafficking offenses.
The dedicated police anti-trafficking unit (ATU) responsible for investigating cases lost three of 15 staff as part of staff turnover, which affected their ability to provide training and pursue cases. All incoming police recruits received basic trafficking training. One ATU member, one staff from the prosecutor’s office, and two immigration officers participated in an international training on trafficking sponsored by another country. An international organization provided training to 34 officials from the police and prosecutor’s office, promoting cooperation between units. The ATU provided training to 265 persons from within the police organization as well as members of the military and healthcare providers. The police attaché at the Brazilian embassy met with the government to plan bilateral cooperation against trafficking. Authorities extradited a Haitian to Brazil who was wanted on sex trafficking charges.