COORDINATION CENTER ON HUMAN
TRAFFICKING AND SMUGGLING ARUBA
Annual Report 2022
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction 3
2. The National Coordinator on Human Trafficking (LCMM) 3
3. The Coordination Center on Human Trafficking and Smuggling Aruba (CMMA) 4
3.1 Information 5
3.1.1 Registration 5
3.1.2 Research 6
3.1.3 Trends and developments 7
3.1.4 Reports 8
3.2 Education 9
3.2.1 Awareness campagne “Habri Bo Wowo” 9
3.2.2 Curriculum secondary schools 9
3.2.3 Information and training 10
3.2.4 Website www.cmmaruba.com 12
3.3 Assistance 12
3.3.1 Shelter and support 12
3.3.2 Multidisciplinary actions 13
3.3.3 Cooperation 13
4. Financing CMMA 14
5. Priorities 2023 14
This annual report highlights the activities of the National Coordinator on Human Trafficking and
Migrant Smuggling (LCMM) and the Coordination Center on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling
Aruba (CMMA) in 2022. It contains an overview of the projects, campaigns and activities carried out by the
CMMA in the year 2022 and an overview of the studies, opinions and recommendations made by the
LCMM in 2022. It also describes local, regional and international developments in tackling human
trafficking and migrant smuggling in Aruba. The annual report provides a financial statement for the
year 2022 and concludes with the priorities for 2023.
In 2022, the CMMA continued its activities in combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling in
Aruba, based on the objectives as formulated in the Action Plan 2018-2022, the Immigration Chain
Project 2019-2022 and the Protocol Strengthening Border Control Aruba 2022-2029.
In recent years, the CMMA has been involved in setting up a registration system for reporting
indicators of human trafficking, commissioning scientific research on topics in the field of human
trafficking and migrant smuggling, creating local and regional networks like the Humanitarian
Organizations Platform (HOP), setting up and implementing the information and awareness campaign
‘Habri bo wowo’, providing information and training to government and citizens, developing relevant
websites (www.habribowowo.com and www.cmmaruba.com), co-coordinating the new shelter for
victims of trafficking and initiating a comprehensive package of services for victims of trafficking.
2.THE NATIONAL COORDINATOR ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MIGRANT SMUGGLING
The National Coordinator on Human Trafficking and
Migrant Smuggling (LCMM) investigates developments in
the nature, extent and characteristics of human trafficking and
migrant smuggling in Aruba. Based on information from many
different sources, the LCMM advises the government,
stakeholders, NGOs, international organizations, and aid
professionals on preventing and combating human
trafficking and migrant smuggling.
The LCMM evaluates the effects of the policy measures
taken by the government and advises on possible
adjustments. The LCMM regularly publishes news reports,
investigations, relevant documents and training on human
trafficking and smuggling on the CMMA website
The LCMM is Aruba’s representative at local, regional and international levels and participates on
behalf of Aruba in relevant training sessions, meetings and conferences on human trafficking and
migrant smuggling. The LCMM regularly reports to local, regional and international organizations on
the state of human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Aruba. The LCMM ensures local, regional and
international cooperation in the field of human trafficking and migrant smuggling. In addition, the
National Coordinator actively provides information on the subject of human trafficking and migrant
smuggling by organizing training courses and expert meetings, participating in supervisory committees
and presenting research results.
The function of LCMM has been exercised by Mrs. Jeannette Richardson-Baars MA LLM since 2008.
3. THE COORDINATION CENTER ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MIGRANT SMUGGLING
The fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling and the care for victims have shown a
development towards further professionalization in recent years. In February 2020, the Coordination
Center on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Aruba (CMMA) was established with financial
support from the Immigration Chain Project 2019-2022, aimed at supporting Aruba in the
implementation of tasks and projects related to the crisis in Venezuela and the associated possible
mass migration to Aruba. The CMMA provides permanent support to the National Coordinator and
serves as a one-stop shop for the general public with regard to signals of human trafficking and migrant
Based on the Plan of Action on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling (PvA MHMS) 2018 – 2022,
attention was paid to the following topics: (1) prevention and education, (2) administrative approach,
(3) criminal justice approach and (4) assistance to victims. Legislative, regulatory, policy and
operational action measures have been taken to step up and make effective the fight against
trafficking in human beings and smuggling. Among other things, a proposal has been made to the
Minister of Justice to increase the penalties for human trafficking and ‘begging’ and ‘criminal
exploitation’ to Article 2:239 of the Criminal Code, following a recommendation from the US State
Department in the TIP report.
In 2021, by means of the Protocol on the Strengthening of Border Control in the Caribbean part of the
Kingdom, it was agreed to invest extra in the border control of the countries Aruba, Curaçao and Sint
Maarten over the next seven years. The purpose of the Protocol is to take measures in the field of
border control by investing in the Caribbean countries and improving cooperation between the
services. Due to the importance of tackling human trafficking and smuggling, a separate section has
been devoted to this theme within the action plan, which has given the CMMA additional financial
resources for the period 2022-2027.
The CMMA has since 2020 been occupied by Ms. Jeannette Richardson-Baars MA LLM (LCMM) and
Mrs. Angela Niemeyer-Persad (Project Leader/Quartermaster). The CMMA performs three tasks:
Information, Education and Assistance.
Within the ‘Information’ task, the CMMA is engaged in the following activities:
– Registering information from society (reports and signals) about human trafficking
– Conducting research into human trafficking or migrant smuggling-related topics
– Identifying and advising on trends and developments in the field of human trafficking and
– Preparing reports on the state of human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Aruba.
In 2022, the CMMA received a total of 25 notifications from society about possible cases of human
trafficking or migrant smuggling. Of these, 11 cases were reported by government departments, 10
cases by individual citizens, 3 cases by the private sector and 1 case by an NGO/IO.
Notifications to the CMMA were made via WhatsApp (11 times), via email (6 times), telephone (6
times) and via Facebook Messenger (2 times).
Government NGO/IO Private sector Civilians
The notifications covered indicators/cases of trafficking in human beings (7 times), cases of migrant
smuggling (5 times) and other cases (13 times). In these other cases it was not sufficiently clear from
the information received whether it concerned a case of human trafficking or migrant smuggling.
The intake interviews at the Joint Intel Unit Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling (JIUMM) show
that in 2022, most notifications of possible human trafficking related to female victims, with the
Colombian nationality and in the age ranging from 32 to 42 years old. In 2022, most notifications of
migrant smuggling concerned men, with the Venezuelan nationality and in the age ranging from 32 to
42 years old.
The LCMM has the responsibility to provide insight into the issue of human trafficking through
research and to offer options to improve on the approach towards human trafficking. In 2022, the
LCMM, in collaboration with the Chain Manager Venezuela (KMVEN), commissioned a study into the
possible link between guarantors and human trafficking. The guarantor system is a system in which a
third person (the guarantor) guarantees to pay any costs in connection with (1) an alien who cannot
meet the minimum financial requirement to enter Aruba or (2) an alien who meets the requirements
to leave immigration detention with a reporting obligation.
METHOD OF NOTIFICATION
Facebook Email Whatsapp Phone
Human trafficking Migrant smuggling Other
The aim of the study is to identify the current situation of the existing guarantor procedures in the
context of migration and to provide recommendations for improving these processes and the
possibilities for strengthening inspections and follow-up in order to exclude any links that could
contribute to human trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling. The services involved,
DIMAS, Immigracion Aruba (IA) and Guarda Nos Costa (GNC), use different guarantor procedures,
which makes it difficult to control, monitor and enforce them. These existing processes and
procedures could contribute to human trafficking and migrant smuggling. This research should be able
to show whether or not this is the case.
The study is looking at the following questions:
1. To what extent and in what way can the migration procedures used by Aruba with regard to
guarantors, tourist extension, immigration detention, reporting obligation and asylum
procedure, contribute to human trafficking and migrant smuggling (MSMH)?
2. How can these procedures be adapted so that they no longer contribute to human trafficking
and migrant smuggling (MHMS)?
The study will be completed and presented in 2023.
3.1.3 Trends and developments
The year 2022 was marked by an increased interest in the themes of human trafficking and migrant
smuggling at the political level. The LCMM has shared her reflections on both themes with the
relevant ministers within the government and with the parliament of Aruba. The Prime Minister and
the Minister of Justice and Social Affairs support the CMMA in its work and contribute regularly to the
activities of the CMMA like the webinars and the National Day against Human Trafficking. Also from
the countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands the interest in the CMMA has increased. The
Secretary of State for Justice and Security of the Netherlands visited the LCMM and the CMMA in 2022,
during which the way in which human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Aruba is tackled was
discussed in detail.
Aruba plays an important role in the region. The urgency to gain more insight into how this problem
manifests itself is felt more and more by professionals. In 2022, the CMMA was able to assist various
other countries within the region by, among others, helping to develop building blocks forthe regional
approach to human trafficking. In particular, the cooperation with the National Coordinator Human
Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling
of Curaçao has developed further in
2022 by supporting the position of
the national coordinator and
advising on setting up a
coordination center for Curaçao,
while the cooperation with the
National Coordinator Human
Trafficking Human Trafficking of
Sint Maarten was further shaped by
support in the form of training.
In 2022, the Coordination Center for Human Trafficking in Human Trafficking Aruba (CMMA) was
nominated by COMENSHA, the Coordination Center for Human Trafficking in the Netherlands, for the
“Approach to Human Trafficking Award 2022″. Despite the fact that the award eventually went to
another nominee, the fact that Aruba was nominated indicates that the right steps have been taken
to effectively tackle human trafficking in Aruba.
In 2022, the LCMM reported to the U.S. State Department JTIP Office for its annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Despite
the fact that there was an enormous commitment by the
various partnersin 2021 and that almost all objectives and from
the Plan of Action (PvA 2018-2022) were realized, Aruba was
assessed as a Tier 2 Watchlist for a third time in 2022. This
ranking indicates that Aruba does develop the necessary
initiatives and activities, but that overall there are still too
many parts that do not reach the desired level. The US State
Department ruled, among other things, that in their opinion
Aruba has not done enough to prosecute and convict
traffickers, that there is no / insufficient budget included in the
national budget and that employees cannot sufficiently
distinguish human trafficking and smuggling from each other,
making the approach to human trafficking less effective.
In October 2022, Aruba had a visit from Mrs. Sarah Jennings, working at the US State Department JTIP Office. In addition to an extensive program with visits to the relevant partners in Aruba, several
discussions were held to clarify the specific requirements imposed on Aruba by the US State
Department J-TIP Office and what is the basis for the ranking. The recommendations of the TIP Report
and the discussion with Ms. Sarah Jennings led to the necessary steps in 2022 to improve the ranking.
Information was provided by the LCMM to the United
National Office on Drugs and Crime for the 2022 UNODC
Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. This report
provides an overview of how human trafficking has
occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking
information from 141 countries. This report shows that
there has been a noticeable increase in sexual exploitation,
labor exploitation and criminal exploitation after COVID.
This includes an increase in the field of sexual exploitation
via the internet and a move to invisible places such as “inhouse” prostitution. What is striking is the worldwide delay
in convictions, which caused the conviction rate to fall by –
44% in 2020, with a reduction of -54% in Central America and
the Caribbean. In recent years, there has been an increase
in the number of female traffickers (56%) and more women
than men have been convicted. Many victims (41%) rely
more on themselves than on the authorities to end exploitation, and women and children increasingly
suffer from violent forms of trafficking.
Within the task ‘Education’, the CMMA is engaged in the following activities:
– Creating and executing awareness campaigns on human trafficking and migrant smuggling for
the population and visitors
– Providing information and training on human trafficking and migrant smuggling for
government departments and (civil) organizations
– Informing about human trafficking, human smuggling and the work of the CMMA via the
websites www.habribowowo.com and www.cmmaruba.com.
3.2.1 Awareness campaign “Habri Bo Wowo”
The ‘Habri bo wowo’ campaign, started in 2021 and continued in 2022, includes a 20-minute film titled
‘Otro banda di lama’ that tells the story of Pedro and Camila, a Venezuelan couple in great financial
and economic difficulties. They risk their lives to leave for Aruba on a boat and be smuggled into the
country, only to find out that they have been manipulated and ended up in a situation of human
trafficking. The awareness campaign was executed through various marketing channels such as social
media (Facebook, Instagram and twitter), radio, television and the specially developed website
Through this campaign, the general public has successfully reached the CMMA for general
information, providing information, but above all passing on possible reports about human trafficking
and smuggling as a tip or in an anonymous manner.
3.2.2 Educational package for secondary schools
Part of the awareness campaign is an educational package for high school students aged 12-18, with
the aim of educating them on the subject of human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The students
watch the short film ‘Otro banda di lama’ which presents a realistic view of human smuggling and
migrant trafficking in Aruba. This allows the students to imagine what the problematic situation of
another person can be, why this person chooses to leave their country, what the situation is in which
this person may end up and in what way and why other people take advantage of this situation. On
the basis of the film, the students talk to each other and to the teacher. This gives them a better insight
into the themes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling so they can recognize human trafficking
in their own environment. Students will also realize that exploitation is a real risk against which they
can protect themselves and others.
The educational package was presented on
October 18, 2022, as an activity in the context of
the annual National Day against Human
Trafficking. Present at this activity were the
Minister President of Aruba, Mrs. Evelyna WeverCroes, the Minister of Education of Aruba, Mr.
Endy Croes, the representative of the US State
Department J-TIP Office, Mrs. Sarah Jennings, and
the US Consul in Curaçao, Mrs. Margy Bond.
3.2.3 Information and training
Professionals who may come into contact with human trafficking and migrant smuggling must be
informed and trained in such a way that they can recognize signs of exploitation. They must be aware
of possible exploitation in the risk sectors relevant to Aruba, such as construction, hospitality and the
sexual servicessector. The CMMA provides these trainings, both nationally and regionally (Caribbean),
through presentations, lectures and webinars.
In 2022, the CMMA provided various training courses to professionals (government departments and
non-governmental organizations) who may come into contact with human trafficking and migrant
smuggling. The training courses can be divided into (1) awareness training – aimed at distinguishing
human trafficking and migrant smuggling, recognizing indicators of human trafficking and knowing
where this can be reported, (2) skills training – aimed at learning and practicing skills, for example
interviewing techniques for a victim taking into account the trauma suffered, and (3) webinars – aimed
at informing specific groups on a human trafficking and migrant smuggling related topic through
In 2022, the CMMA provided awareness training to several groups. Coast Guard (15), Secondary
Schools (161), Immigration (25), NGOs (50), Social Affairs (60), Helicopters(40), Airport (25), Press (15)
and others (19) participated. A total of 410 people received awareness training.
Schools Immigration NGO’s Social Affairs Hotels Airport Press
A total of 250 people received skills training from the CMMA, divided between Labor Department (8),
Police Department (140), Immigration (50), Social Affairs Department (20), Intakers (BSOH, UM,
JIUMM-8), Mental Health Services (15) and Schools (9). One of the trainings was provided by the United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC -Track4TIP project), in collaboration with the CMMA, for
employees of investigative services who interview victims of human trafficking. This training will be
repeated in 2023 and an in-depth training will also be provided.
The CMMA has an important role in the field of information activities in Aruba and in the region. For
example, in 2022 the CMMA organized several webinars with guest speakers from various countries.
The official opening of the webinars was done by the Minister-President of Aruba, Mrs. Evelyna Wever
– Croes and the Minister of Justice & Social Affairs, Mr. Rocco Tjon. The webinars were aimed at
professionals who may have to deal with human trafficking in their daily work. The number of
participants continued to grow in 2022 with participants from countries such as Curaçao, Bonaire, Sint
Maarten, St Eustatius, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Suriname, Jamaica and the Netherlands.
The webinars in 2022 had the following topics:
– ‘The internet and human trafficking’ (92 deelnemers), spreker dhr. Isaac Espinoza (Interpol
Labor Dept Police Dept Immigration Dept
Social Affairs Dept Intakers Mental Health Services
– ‘From signal to conviction’ for the judiciary and police (130 participants), speakers Mr. Gert
Buist (expert human trafficking police) and Mr. Warner ten Kate (national human trafficking
– ‘Trafficking use of the internet’ voor professionals (145 deelnemers), spreker dhr. Jordi Martin
Domingo (UNODC Cybercrime)
3.2.4 Website www.cmmaruba.com
In December 2022, in addition to the content-oriented
website www.habribowowo.com, the website
www.cmmaruba.com was launched. This website
focuses on the tasks carried out by the CMMA and
provides information about other developments in the
field of human trafficking and migrant smuggling, results
of investigations, studies and reports and the chain
partners with whom we work. Via this website the
educational package for secondary school.
Within the ‘Assistance’ task, the CMMA is engaged in the following activities:
– Realizing and coordinating effective and professional assistance and support of victims of
– Facilitating multidisciplinary actions and inspections in the field of human trafficking and
– Cooperating with local, regional and international bodies and organizations in the field of
human trafficking and smuggling.
3.3.1 Assistance and support
Trafficking in human beings is accompanied by violations of personal and physical integrity. Victims of
human trafficking have often had traumatic experiences and the right care and assistance is therefore
of great importance. The need to protect victims of trafficking is endorsed in several international
conventions. For example, under the UN Protocol, the country of Aruba has an obligation to provide
assistance to victims and to ensure their protection (Articles 6 and 7).
In 2021, a collaboration was established between the CMMA and the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) to establish a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the identification, screening,
protection, assistance, return and reintegration of victims of human trafficking. This SOP was further
developed in 2022 and will be presented in 2023.
In 2020, the CMMA entered into a partnership with a local foundation to create a shelter for victims
of human trafficking. For this purpose, the CMMA has made part of the budget obtained from the
Immigration Chain Project available to this foundation to realize a shelter for 20 victims of human
trafficking on their site, two offices for the CMMA and a common room for activities and meetings.
The first phase of the renovation was completed in 2022 and the CMMA will be able to use the facilities
3.3.2 Multidisciplinary actions
In 2022, the CMMA facilitated and supported two local multidisciplinary actions, which were aimed at
possible exploitation in the prostitution sector and the construction sector. Both actions were carried
out in collaboration with employees of the Police Department (KPA), Department of Labor (DAO),
Department of Border Control (GNC) and Department for Detainee Transportation (CEA).
In 2022, the CMMA continued to contribute to the planning and implementation of inspections under
the Interpol action Turquesa, aimed at intensifying controls on migrant smuggling and trafficking in
The countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding
(MoU) for the purpose of intensifying cooperation and prioritizing the prevention and combating of
human trafficking and migrant smuggling in each of the countries. In 2022, the 2019 MOU was
evaluated by the National Coordinators of the countries and a new draft MOU was drawn up for
decision making. In the MoU, the countries agree to make efforts to implement and comply with
international treaties in laws and regulations. The MoU contains the agreements between the
countries on twinning, advice, support and exchange of information. The countries will regularly
provide relevant training to maintain knowledge and expertise, using the train-the-trainer concept as
much as possible.
The National Coordinators of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, the Caribbean Netherlands and the
Netherlands regularly discuss the cooperation between the countries, the priorities of the countries
and make recommendations for adjusting the cooperation. In addition, Aruba wants to enter into lose
cooperation with Curaçao and Sint Maarten to promote the prevention and combating of human
trafficking and protection of victims in the Caribbean region. In the first discussions with
representatives of Curaçao and Sint Maarten in 2022, it was agreed that further cooperation will be
planned in the course of 2023.
Since 2020, the CMMA has started a collaboration with international organizations and NGOs such as
UNODC, IOM, Red Cross Aruba, HIAS, PADF and UNHCR under the name ‘Humanitarian Organizations
Platform (HOP)’. There are two monthly consultations with these organizations to strengthen
cooperation to prevent vulnerable groups from potentially becoming victims of human trafficking.
4. CMMA FINANCING
In 2022, the CMMA, as a project organization, was funded from various financial sources. The Aruban
government has borne the costs for salary, workspace, training rooms and operational costs through
the national budget. From the Immigration Chain Project 2019-2022 and the Protocol Strengthening
Border Control Aruba 2022-2029, financial resources were obtained for the mainly educational and
marketing-oriented activities of the CMMA such as the website, the teaching package, the research,
the campaigns and the prostitution project.
5. PRIORITIES FOR 2023
In 2023, the following priorities have been established as a follow-up in tackling human trafficking and
migrant smuggling in Aruba and in the protection of victims of human trafficking:
➢ Formalizing the LCMM and the CMMA under the Ministry of Justice and Social Affairs.
➢ Expanding the capacity of the CMMA by recruiting an Assistance Coordinator.
➢ Further establishing national and international partnerships with government departments,
non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
➢ The realization of a knowledge center for the Caribbean region from which knowledge,
information and activities are made available to all relevant partners.
➢ The realization of a multifunctional location where victims of human trafficking can be
sheltered and assisted.
➢ Continuation of training for government departments and non-governmental organizations
to increase awareness and recognition of indicators of human trafficking.
➢ Collecting, recording and analyzing relevant data and initiating policy proposals on the basis
of the information obtained with the aim of preventing exploitative situations in vulnerable
➢ Approving and implementing standard victim support procedures, the procedures for
reporting, reception and assistance, residence status, investigation, return to country of origin
and communication with foreign representatives.
➢ To obtain sufficient financial resources so that the fight against trafficking in human beings
and smuggling can continue unabated.