Stiffer penalties for human trafficking
Jerome Reynolds, Staff Reporter
The House of Representatives this afternoon passed amendments to the Trafficking in Persons Act which now gives stiffer penalties for breaches.
The new legislation also introduces new offences such as conspiracy to commit human trafficking and benefiting from human trafficking.
The law also gives the court the power to order an offender to pay restitution to a victim of human trafficking.
Under the new amendments, a person convicted of human trafficking can be sentenced to 20 years up from a term of 10 years.
It also stipulates that the court can impose an additional 10 years if the offender committed other offences while trafficking persons.
These include sexual assault, the use of force and using an offensive weapon.
And the prison term for a person convicted of receiving a financial or other benefit from human trafficking has been increased from 10 to 20 years.
National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who piloted the bill, says the amendments will help to enhance Jamaica’s ability to combat human trafficking as well as align the country with international obligations.
Bunting pointed out that in the 2012-2013 fiscal year 213 raids were carried out at sites suspected of human trafficking.
He said this is a major jump from 32 raids in the previous year and 10 in the year before that.
Last month Jamaica was upgraded from the tier two watch list to tier two in the US State Department’s 2013 Trafficking in Persons report.
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