By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 27, 2018: As the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault continues to spread virally across the U.S. and the world, toppling many powerful people, the Caribbean region has seemed almost silent on the issue. But the reality is, that in nine of these countries, there are no sexual harassment legislation to protect women from the scourge, according to a News Americas analysis of the recent U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Here are the countries where no sexual harassment laws exist:
No legislation in Jamaica addresses sexual harassment, and no legal remedy exists for victims of sexual harassment.
The law in Haiti does not specifically prohibit sexual harassment even though observers indicated that sexual harassment occurred frequently. However, the labor code states that men and women have the same rights and obligations.
There is no specific legislation on sexual harassment in Suriname but prosecutors cited various penal code articles in filing sexual harassment cases.
No laws in Trinidad & Tobago specifically prohibit sexual harassment but related statutes could be used to prosecute perpetrators of sexual harassment, and some trade unions incorporated anti-harassment provisions in their contracts.
The law in St. Vincent & The Grenadines does not specifically prohibit sexual harassment, although authorities could prosecute such behavior under other laws. Local human rights groups and women’s organizations considered enforcement ineffective.
In St. Kitts & Nevis, there is no law that explicitly addresses sexual harassment. Sexual harassment falls within the purview of the Protection of Employment Act. Anecdotal evidence suggested sexual harassment was a problem in the workplace, according to the US report, although the Ministry of Community Development, Culture, and Gender Affairs said did not receive any cases under the act during 2017.
The law does not prohibit sexual harassment in Dominica though the US report says it continued to be a serious and persistent problem.
No law contains penalties specifically for sexual harassment in Barbados, except in the workplace and human rights activists reported sexual harassment continued to be a serious concern, according to the US report.
The law in Antigua & Barbuda does not specifically define sexual harassment. According to the Ministry of Labor, there was a high incidence of sexual harassment in the private and public sectors. The labor court requires a safe working environment for all persons, thus enabling the court to address harassment cases, although no such cases were filed during the year, 2017, according to the US report.