Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Jamaicans warned to look out for signs of human trafficking

Published:Thursday | July 28, 2016 | 7:37 AM
Carol Palmer

Carol Palmer, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice is warning Jamaicans against the many disguises of Human Trafficking.

Her comments come against the background of the endorsement of Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen, who has proclaimed, July 24-30, 2016 as Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Week.

Palmer, the chair of the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), was speaking at the start of TIP Week, hosted at the Tarrant Baptist Church on Molynes Road, in St. Andrew last Sunday.
Scores of worshippers listened, including the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn and members of the NATFATIP Committee, as she spoke.

“Trafficking in Persons is a multibillion-dollar industry. In fact, it is the third-largest and fastest-growing crime in the world, behind trade in illegal guns and drugs,” she said.

“There is an estimated 40 million people that have been made subject to some form of Modern Day Slavery.”

Palmer informed that while this global crime is not unique to Jamaica, “What is evidence to this pervasive phenomenon in our country is the clandestine nature of the offence which tends to obscure the truth of its existence, but is evident in the luring of our females and children under the guise of ‘massage parlours’.”

MEN ALSO VICTIMS

However, Palmer, was quick to point out that: “Men, though to a lesser extent,” are also victims of Human Trafficking.

“We are on a path to ensure that Jamaica becomes free from Human Trafficking. We are trying to engage every Jamaican in this fight because we can’t do it by ourselves, we need your help,” concluded Mrs. Palmer.

TIP Week, in its second consecutive year, seeks to heighten awareness of Human Trafficking as a heinous criminal offence. It also acknowledges the importance of providing support to the victims who have been dehumanized. The week of activities will climax on July 30, in recognition of World Trafficking in Persons Day.

As the Jamaican Government, through its multi-agency committee, NATFATIP, continues to reinforce its commitment to prosecute traffickers and protect victims, it is also recording significant successes, which include:

– The enactment of the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppressions and Punishment) Act 2007 with recent amendments in 2013;

– The collaborative efforts between the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, four convictions were secured;

– The United States’ State Department improved Jamaica’s ranking from Tier 2 Watch List, to upper Tier 2;

– The establishment of  shelters for victims of  Human Trafficking;

– The development of a Trafficking in Persons database;

–  Facilitating the sensitization of more than 4,500 persons on the topic of Human Trafficking, including police officers, health workers and other first responders.