Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Gov't strengthens capacity to fight human trafficking

Published:Monday | February 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer, says the Government is strengthening its capacity to investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking.

She said that traffickers are coming up with new ways every day to carry out their heinous acts and the State must bolster its institutional capacity "to allow for the aggressive investigation and swift prosecution of offenders.

"There is no investigation separate from prosecution ... ; it is just one flow ... one continuum," she noted.

Palmer was addressing the opening of a three-day Prosecutors' Human Trafficking Training Seminar at the Royalton White Sands in Trelawny on February 16.

She argued that human trafficking was one of the most heinous crimes known to man and that its perpetrators must be vigorously pursued and brought to justice.

The permanent secretary said that victims of human trafficking have been dehumanised where their "persona has been taken from them", and where they have been forced to submit and "do as they are told".

She pointed out that the amendments to the Trafficking in Persons Act, now before Parliament, would ensure that there was stronger enforcement of the law to deter persons from engaging in the crime.

"We cannot be reluctant to thoroughly investigate and aggressively prosecute persons who are involved in human trafficking because they are powerful, influential or well connected," she noted.

"Prosecutors must also be trained in victim identification and protection. They must work together with investigators to protect victims and their families from intimidation from traffickers," she added.

Palmer said it was also imperative to identify intermediaries "who enable, facilitate and provide safe and secure front for persons who procure those activities".

"We have come to learn that social media is very serious business," she noted.