April 24th 2018
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (KYSS FM) – Violence against women and children is a major concern in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
This is according to the findings of the United States Department of State’s 2017 Report on Human Rights Practices.
Within the document, which was released last Friday, May 20th, sexual harassment and abuse of women in their workplaces and homes are prevalent along with the sexual molestation of children.
The report found evidence that suggested that rape – including spousal rape – was a serious and pervasive problem in the Federation.
It also stated while the evidence suggests that sexual harassment is problem in the workplace, the Ministry of Community Development and Gender Affairs has not reported receiving any cases during the year, 2017.
With regard to child abuse, the State Department report claimed that information sourced from the government of St. Kitts and Nevis indicates that neglect was the most common form of abuse, while physical abuse, including sexual molestation, also remained prevalent.
Non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) surveyed also documented complaints of sexual exploitation and molestation of children and with adolescent transactional sex remaining a serious issue.
Under the laws of the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis the age of legal consent is 16 years. Having sexual relations with children under age 16 is illegal, with penalties ranging from probation to life imprisonment, however no cases were prosecuted during the reported year.
While there were no confirmed reports during the year that St. Kitts and Nevis was a source, destination, or transit country for victims of human trafficking, human rights activists alleged some sex workers were victims of trafficking and that human smugglers regularly transited through the country.