Government perplexed at US over 2015 human trafficking report
The Government says it is already in discussions with the United States over its 2015 human trafficking report which Jamaica says does not fairly assess efforts made last year to combat the crime.
The US State Department released the report yesterday, ranking Jamaica for a second straight year on the Tier 2 Watch List.
The ranking means that Jamaica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking although the country is making significant efforts to do so.
Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding, says significant work was done over the last year which the US report does not fairly acknowledge.
He says Jamaican officials have been meeting with counterparts from the US Embassy in Jamaica, although there is no guarantee the US will amend the report.
Golding notes that the US report on Jamaica is important because of the assistance that Jamaica gets from that country.
He argues that if Jamaica remains on the Tier Two Watch list for a third straight year, it could trigger US laws which restrict certain assistance to Jamaica.
However, the Justice Minister is doubtful this will happen given the cooperation required by both countries to fight transnational crimes including human trafficking.
In a statement this morning, the Justice Ministry said the government is perplexed by the acknowledgment by the US of Jamaica’s efforts while still keeping Jamaica on its watch list.
Jamaica says some of the claims in the report lack supporting evidence.
Regarding convictions, it notes that the Government does not have control over decisions of the court adding that due process in criminal cases is a Constitutional guarantee.