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Transport sector should partner with State to fight human trafficking - Dunn

Published:Monday | August 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Dr Leith Dunn

Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr Leith Dunn, has called for the transportation sector to partner with the Government to combat human trafficking, which she says is a major issue in Jamaica.

"The transport sector is an area that we need to really partner with," said Dunn during a recent human trafficking conference in Trelawny.

"How can we partner with our taxi drivers, who are often involved in moving people from one place to the other?" she asked. "How can we get our transport and travel sector to really be more informed about human trafficking?"

Dion Chance, the president of the St James Taxi Association, supported Dr Dunn's call for the sector to partner with Government. He added that the collaboration should be established with the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons.




James, who is also the immediate past president of the National Council of Taxi Association, said that taxi operators should be educated about how to identify signs of human trafficking.

The Global Slavery Index of 2018, which estimates that the world's slave population is over 40 million, indicates that sexual exploitation makes up 79 per cent of human trafficking cases.

Chance observed that in many cases, victims are threatened by their kidnappers and are afraid to speak to strangers.

"It would be instructive that we educate taxi men as to the signs that they are to look for, because many times when a person is being trafficked, they are held against their will," said Chance. "They are not able to speak definitively to anyone when they are asked questions as the persons who are (trafficking) them are the ones who will answer," he noted.

He said that with more hands on deck, the fight against trafficking will yield better results.

"I want them (National Taskforce Against Human Trafficking in Persons) to meet with the members from the various taxi associations to explain the challenges of human trafficking and develop a mechanism as to how as transport operators, we can individually and collectively help to put a stop to human trafficking," said Chance.