Sheena Gayle, Freelance Writer
At least one member of the justice system has raised a red flag to alert law enforcers to look out for cases of human trafficking during their search for drugs and guns.
"We need to be sufficiently alert and aware of the fact that the same manner that people can transport illegal guns and drugs is the same manner in which they can be transporting humans," said Joyce Hewett, a member of the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons. She was speaking during the closing day of a workshop hosted by the Ministry of Justice on 'Trafficking In Persons' at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay, on Wednesday.
Hewett, who is also an independent consultant on national and community development, told all 32 participants who represented the clerks of courts, police and immigration department that they must be vigilant when looking for contraband as there might be people being trafficked in the process.
Jamaica passed the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act in 2007, which prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons and related offences such as withholding a victim's passport or receiving financial benefits from trafficking crimes.
According to the latest United States State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, released Wed-nesday, Jamaica has maintained a Tier-2 rating.
A Tier-2 rating is given to countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act's (TVPA) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.