Types of criminalisation

  • Criminalises LGBT people
  • Criminalises sexual activity between males
  • Criminalises sexual activity between females

Same-sex sexual activity is prohibited under the Criminal Code 2004, which criminalises acts of ‘buggery’ and ‘gross indecency’. These provisions carry a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment. Both men and women are criminalised under this law.

The law was inherited from the British during the colonial period, in which the English criminal law was imposed upon Saint Lucia. Despite adopting a new Criminal Code in 2004, Saint Lucia opted to retain the provisions and continues to criminalise same-sex sexual activity today.

There is no evidence of the law being enforced, and it appears to be largely obsolete in practice. Nevertheless, the mere existence of this provision is itself a violation of human rights and underpins further acts of discrimination (see further). There have been some reports of discrimination and violence being committed against LGBT people in recent years, including a number of unresolved murders of gay men, assault, harassment, and the denial of basic rights and services.

Sexual Offence Law Assessment

We’ve also assessed Saint Lucia’s sexual offence laws against international human rights standards. Not only does Saint Lucia criminalise same-sex sexual activity, it also fails to properly protect other vulnerable groups, such as women, children, and people with disability, from sexual offences.

Find out more


The US Department of State report noted that the law is not enforced in practice. This followed earlier iterations of this report which suggested that the law is rarely enforced.

Discrimination and Violence


The US Department of State report cited civil society organisations which reported widespread societal discrimination against LGBT people, including verbal harassment and at times physical abuse, including a reported public attack on a gay man. Furthermore, LGBT people experienced discrimination in public, on public transport, and in employment.


The US Department of State report noted that there was an alleged stabbing of an LGBT person at a street party during the year.


The Human Rights Watch report, I Have to Leave to Be Me, documented cases of discrimination and violence against LGBT people in Saint Lucia, including familial rejection and ostracisation.


study of homophobia and transphobia in Caribbean media found that outlets in Saint Lucia, particularly broadcast television, is guilty of “visual conflict” when presenting stories of LGBTI Saint Lucians, opting to feature images of “Caucasians or individuals in foreign settings”, rather than of the predominately African-descent population. The report stated this “suggests a lack of awareness or deliberate manipulation of the impact of images to which the average Saint Lucian cannot identify, further alienating the general public from LGBTI Saint Lucians.” The report further suggested that the media sensationalised stories and approached them from a moralising angle. 

In April, a 17-year-old was found dead on a beach in an apparent homophobic hate crime. Although the victim had allegedly taken a photo of the attacker, no arrest or prosecution had been made. 


In March, Kenita Placide of the LGBT group United and Strong commented on the situation of the LGBT community in Saint Lucia and suggested reasons for a lack of reporting: “It is a dangerous thing. People’s rights are being violated on a daily basis … The fact that the law is there, there is no formal redress for homosexuals. It basically means that when you go to the police for something, it exposes you. Right now it is the police officers on their own deciding not to enforce this law. Homosexuals ask themselves, what if the police officers decide to book me because this law exists.” She went on to highlight the violent deaths of three gay men, all of which were unresolved.


In March, the Government of Saint Lucia apologised to three gay tourists who were robbed on the island. According to the victims the perpetrators used anti-gay slurs and issued death threats. The government issued a statement on the incident: “Whether or not this crime was motivated by anti-gay sentiment, or during the course of robbery, it is nonetheless unacceptable behaviour and our destination will not tolerate it. Our law enforcement authorities are pursuing this matter relentlessly.”


Local Organisations

United and Strong

a local organisation working to provide an enabling environment for the advancement of human rights of LGBT people.

Related Countries

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines criminalises same-sex sexual activity between men and between women. Sentences include a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment.


Barbados criminalises same-sex sexual activity between men and between women. Sentences include a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.


Grenada criminalises same-sex sexual activity between men. Sentences include a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment.

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