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Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                        

Republic of Suriname

The economy is dominated by the mining industry, with exports of alumina, gold, and oil accounting for about 85% of exports and 25% of government revenues, making the economy highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility.

In 2000, the government of Ronald Venetiaan, returned to office and inherited an economy with inflation of over 100% and a growing fiscal deficit. He quickly implemented an austerity program, raised taxes, attempted to control spending, and tamed inflation. The Venetiaan administration also has created a stabilization fund to insulate future revenue from commodity shocks.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Suriname

Suriname is a destination and transit country for men, women, and children from the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Guyana, Colombia, Haiti, Indonesia, Vietnam, and China trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Suriname is also a source country for women and children trafficked within the country for sexual exploitation and forced labor, as well as women trafficked transnationally for forced labor. Foreign trafficking victims are exploited in illegal urban brothels and the western district of Nickerie. Guyanese women and girls are forced into street prostitution and are trafficked into the sex trade near both legal and illegal gold mining camps in the Amazon jungle. At least one criminal network traffics Brazilian women among gold mining sites in both Suriname and French Guiana. Women from urban areas are recruited for domestic work at these mining camps and subsequently coerced into sexual servitude. Some Chinese men are subjected to forced labor in the construction industry, while some Chinese women are forced into prostitution in massage parlors and brothels. Chinese men and women are forced to labor in grocery stores. Some Haitian migrants transiting Suriname are forced to work in agriculture. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009  Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Suriname.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Dying to Leave

Thirteen, New York Public Media, September 25th, 2003

[accessed 26 December 2010]

[accessed 18 February 2018]

BACKGROUND - Sex sells in Suriname. An impoverished population and anti-prostitution laws that go unenforced make this former Dutch colony a popular destination for sex industry traffickers. A 1997 UN report noted that Suriname is one of the few countries that also issues temporary work permits for migrant prostitutes allegedly en route to other countries.

With 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line, parents struggling to survive have been known to sell their children in Suriname's various gold mining towns, according to anti-slavery organizations.

In all cases, the set-up story is similar: Promised a decent job as a waitress or other position, women unwittingly sign up with a trafficker for assistance in coming to Paramaribo or Suriname's mining towns, only to find themselves caught in a trafficking ring upon arrival.

Suriname police detain alleged human trafficker

Ivan Cairo, Caribbean Net News, PARAMARIBO, Suriname, 01 APRIL 2008

[accessed 26 December 2010]

Preliminary investigations have revealed, said prosecutor Garcia Paragsingh, that the four Vietnamese nationals working on the boat, were forced to hard labour on the vessel without payment, proper medical care and food. For over a two year period, two of ill-treated crew members did not receive payment for their work, while the remaining two fishermen told police that for over one year they did not receive salaries and were not allowed to leave the boat.

The captain, a Korean national, allegedly refused to allow them to see a doctor when they became sick, while they were forced to work long hours under very poor conditions even when they were physically unable to do so. According to police sources, the worker who committed suicide apparently got sick and asked to be taken to shore to seek medical treatment. After his requests were rejected by the captain, the man hung himself.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Suriname

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 27 June 2021]


The government investigated and, if necessary, prosecuted all reported cases of forced labor.

Labor inspectors trained to identify trafficking victims were legally authorized to conduct inspections outside formal workplaces but lacked the manpower and capacity to do so.


The Ministry of Labor’s Department of Labor Inspection identified three child labor violations during two separate inspections during the year. While the Labor Inspectorate is authorized to enforce the law in the informal sector, it usually lacked the resources and manpower to do so, particularly in mining and agricultural areas, fisheries, and the country’s interior. Enforcement in the informal sector was mostly left to police, which did so sporadically (see also section 6, Children).

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 23 July 2020]


Despite government efforts to combat it, trafficking in persons remains a serious problem. Women and migrant workers are especially at risk of sexual exploitation and forced labor in various industries. Construction and mining work often do not receive adequate attention from labor inspectors. The deteriorating economy in Venezuela has increased the vulnerability of Venezuelan women to sex trafficking in Suriname. Corruption has facilitated the criminal activities of traffickers.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[accessed 6 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 927]

Children in Suriname, mostly boys, work in small-scale gold mines carrying heavy loads. These children risk exposure to mercury and cyanide, excessive noise, extreme heat, and collapsing sand walls. (2; 5; 4) Children, including children from Guyana, are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in Suriname, sometimes as a result of human trafficking, including in informal mining camps in the country’s remote interior. (3; 9; 6; 4).

Suriname police dismantle human trafficking ring

Ivan Cairo, Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent, Paramaribo, Suriname, 6 September 2007


[accessed 12 September 2011]

It is alleged that numerous Chinese immigrants who entered the country either legally or illegally are victims of human smugglers and traffickers. Chinese nationals transiting Suriname risk debt bondage to migrant smugglers; men are exploited in forced labor and women in commercial sexual exploitation.

Human trafficking in Barbados and six other Caribbean countries

Caribbean Net News, Bridgetown, Barbados, 18 March 2005

[accessed 27 December 2010]

Human trafficking is a reality in Barbados and some of its Caribbean neighbors, and it’s being reported that some of those people brought illegally into the country are being forced into labor.  These findings were made during an exploratory study that examined Barbados, the Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname.

The Protection Project - Suriname [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - Seventy percent of Suriname’s population lives below the poverty line.  An increase in child prostitution in Suriname has been reported; both boys and girls are involved. Many Surinamese believe that the chance of contracting HIV/AIDS from a child is much lower than the chance of contracting it from an adult, a belief that fuels underage prostitution.   Suriname is an ideal transit country for trafficking because it is one of the few countries that issue temporary work permits for migrants in prostitution allegedly en route to other countries. 

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Child prostitution has reportedly increased in Suriname. Poor parents increasingly bring their children into mining towns to work in the sex trade.  Child labor is also considered a growing problem in Suriname.   Women are reportedly recruited from Brazil as temporary wives to provide sex to miners in Guyana and Suriname.  Women are also promised waitress or other jobs in Paramaribo or Suriname’s mining towns, only to find themselves caught in trafficking rings. Traffickers can receive US$500 from club owners for a Brazilian woman. Many of the women come from Brazil’s poor northern regions. Women and girls who are sold to club owners must pay off large debts. The club owners confiscate the victims’ passports until the debts are paid off.

Suriname Country Report - Regional Governmental Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children [PDF]

Presented by Clarisse Pawironadi-Dasi, Acting Permanent Secretary & Sector Coordinator Child Rights Promotion, Ministry of Social Affairs and Housing, 18 December 2001

[accessed 27 December 2010]

[accessed 18 February 2018]

[page 5]

IDENTIFICATION - REASONS FOR INVOLVING CHILDREN IN CSW - The Sex Workers were able to describe many reasons for involving their children in Commercial Sex Work (CSW). Several accounts below are taken directly from the questionnaires:

1. Most cited money (or lack thereof) as reason for involving children in sex work. Because clients were found to pay more for sex with children, the temptation to involve them in sex work is very strong

2. Some women allowed a neighbor to have sex with their child to cover the utilities/rent. Often the mothers found themselves with no food, no electricity, or no water. Regional Governmental Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children

3. “Business is slow”: (clients no longer want to be with aging mother) and clients offered a lot more money for a child. One mother sold her 8 year old daughter because clients were no longer Interested in her (quite a few expressed anger and hurt that clients no longer found them desirable).

4. In many cases, the Commercial Sex Work (CSW) stated that it was the partner’s idea to increase income. The Commercial Sex Work (CSW) generally denied involvement in any part of the decision making.

5. The pimp/concubine/father sold children (to friends or at gold mine) without the permission or knowledge of the Commercial Sex Workers (CSW).

In Place of Slavery: A Social History of British Indian and Javanese Laborers in Suriname

Rosemarijn Hoefte, Details: 288 pages, ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-1625-2,  ISBN 10: 0-8130-1625-8, 12/31/1998

[accessed 7 September 2014]

OVERVIEW - Rosemarijn Hoefte explores the rise of indentured servitude on the sugar plantations of Suriname after the end of slavery in that Dutch Caribbean colony in South America. In this first study ever of bonded labor in Suriname, she discusses and compares the social, cultural, and economic consequences of migration and plantation life and offers insights into the system of indentured immigration in general.

Globalization of sex trade

Tammy Quintanilla, CLADEM (Comité de Latinoamérica y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer), 1997

[accessed 28 August 2011]

[accessed 18 February 2018]

THE TRADE OF PEOPLE - The case of Suriname reflects the domination exerted by the Northern countries over those in the South. There is an intense traffic in women between the Netherlands and Suriname. Suriname was a Dutch colony until 1975 and it still maintains strong links with that country.

Suriname – Trafficking

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

[accessed 27 December 2010]

Club owners pay traffickers 500 dollars for every Brazilian woman they provide.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 2 June 2000

[accessed 27 December 2010]

[37] While the Committee notes that the State party has instituted a foster care program, it is concerned at the insufficient monitoring and follow-up of placements in the program and the widespread use of the program as a "first step" in the inter-country adoption process rather than as a domestic fostering program. Concern is also expressed at the unregulated nature of the practice of the "kweekjes system" which allows parents facing economic difficulties to give up their children to another family or person who may be in a better financial situation to care for the child.

[57] The Committee expresses its concern about the increasing number of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution and pornography, involving both boys and girls. Concern is also expressed at the insufficient programs for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victims of such abuse and exploitation


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The extent of trafficking of women and girls to, through, and within the country for prostitution was difficult to estimate. Several commercial sex trade establishments reportedly recruited Brazilian, Colombian, Dominican, Guyanese, and Chinese women for prostitution. Victims in commercial sex trade transited the country and were routed to the Netherlands or other European destinations to work in brothels. There also were reports of underage Hindustani and Maroon girls and Javanese and Hindustani boys trafficked within the country for prostitution by recruiters or caretakers.

The police had informal agreements with many brothel owners allowing them to proceed with their business. However, police conducted random checks to ensure that women were not mistreated, that no minors were present, and that owners did not keep the women's airline tickets and passports. During the year there were fewer than 10 reports of brothel owners retaining passports and airline tickets to uphold contract obligations. In such cases the police assisted these women to return to their country of origin at their own expense.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 27 December 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Commercial sexual exploitation of girls and boys is allegedly increasing in Suriname.  There were reports of girls being trafficked to and through the country for commercial sexual exploitation.  Sexual exploitation of Maroon girls in the interior of the country is also reportedly a concern

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