WILLEMSTAD – On Friday, February 7, 2 men and 1 woman stood trial at a pro-forma session on human trafficking and human smuggling. The criminal investigation is called “Samario” and concerns the suspicion of exploitation of a Colombian cook.
This cook would have worked in a pizzeria for 3 years, 12 to 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. The suspects are accused, among other things, of having abused the cook’s illegal and vulnerable position for 3 years and of keeping him on the line by offering a residence permit.
However, this permit never came. In addition, various social and tax contributions were deducted from his salary for 3 years and he was not paid 150% for overtime. At a certain moment the situation within the pizzeria got out of hand, after which the cook dared to file a complaint with the help of an acquaintance.
Two of the suspects who were on trial Friday were suspended from their custody last year. Last Friday, the 3rd suspect was suspended from pre-trial detention. This means that the judge is looking at serious accusations of criminal offenses, including trafficking in human beings, but that at present the personal interests of the suspects in order to await the criminal investigation in freedom outweigh the importance of the judiciary to currently keep them in detention.
The suspect who was suspended from his detention last Friday is a police detective. He is suspended under strict conditions. The Public Prosecution Service has argued that there is in principle a shocked legal order when a police detective, who himself must investigate the criminal offenses of senior officials, among others, in his profession, is suspected of a serious offense such as human trafficking.
The Public Prosecution Service has indicated that it will not oppose a suspension of the detention of the detective if he is willing to pay at least 5000 guilders to the victim, the Colombian cook. This is an exceptional condition because the detective has not yet been convicted of human trafficking.
In this specific case, however, the Public Prosecution Service considers this condition to be justified. The judge agreed to this and attached this condition, in addition to the condition of a contact ban with witnesses, to the suspension of the detention of the detective. A family member has immediately deposited 5000 guilders into the account of the Public Prosecution Service, after which the detective is released temporarily.
The case will be re-examined on session on May 20, 2020. Probably a fourth suspect will be on trial. Last week this fourth suspect, the bookkeeper of the pizzeria, was arrested in the Netherlands and he will be transferred to Curaçao this week.