Sat | Dec 15, 2018

US partner with Jamaica to fight human trafficking

Published:Friday | June 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/ Senior Staff Reporter
Eric Khant (right), chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of the United States of America, and Ambassador Marcia Gilbert-Roberts exchange documents after the Government of Jamaica and the United States of America signed an MOU on the Child Protection Compact Partnership at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in New Kingston on Thursday.

The United States Government has provided US$4.5 million (J$540m) to support a local initiative aimed at significantly denting the incidence of human trafficking, especially as it affects children in Jamaica.

A Child Protection Compact Partnership memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the US and Jamaica was signed yesterday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in New Kingston by Permanent Secretary Marcia Gilbert-Roberts and Eric Khant, charge d'affaires of the United States (US) Embassy in Jamaica.

Bemoaning the scourge of human trafficking, Khant said that children represented a significant number of the approximately 2.5 million people who were victims of human trafficking each year.

"It's heartbreaking when the victims include children. This type of modern-day slavery should not exist in our society in this day and age, but the sad truth is that it does," the US diplomat noted.

The four-year plan will strengthen Jamaica's ability to prosecute and punish traffickers, identify and provide comprehensive services to victims, and prevent the crimes from happening.

Khant said that the exercise to tackle human trafficking would be implemented by civil society groups and international organisations that were expected to provide various services to victims.

"Our hope is that together, we will be able to eliminate child trafficking in Jamaica and the region," he added.

In her remarks, Gilbert-Roberts said that Jamaica was one of four countries to benefit from the partnership with the United States. The other beneficiaries are Ghana, Peru, and the Philippines.

The permanent secretary said that yesterday's signing of the MOU represented the mutual commitment of the US and Jamaica to reduce child trafficking, violence, and abuse, as well as enhancing the protection of the country's children.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com