First Look

Jamaican government establishes shelter for human trafficking victims



Ministry of Justice | 2013-06-18 00:00:00

The Jamaican government recently established a shelter for victims of human trafficking. The shelter was operationalized at a cost of just over $3.2 million. This forms part of the government’s broader initiatives to address issues related to trafficking in persons (TIP) in Jamaica.

The United States' State Department 2012 report on Trafficking in Persons last year placed Jamaica on a tier two watch list in its ranking of the measures being undertaken by the government to address Human Trafficking. Chairman of the National Task Force Against Trafficking In Persons (NATFATIP) and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice Mrs. Carol Palmer says over the past year the government, through NATFATIP has embarked on a number of activities to address human trafficking.  “We have been doing a lot because we recognize the negative impact of human trafficking on our people and all persons within our shores. We are not motivated just to improve our tier rating.”

For the period April 2012 to March 2013, two hundred and thirteen (213) police raids were conducted and 23 human trafficking victims were rescued.  Over 100 persons have also been interviewed by the JCF Trafficking in Persons Unit in relation to human trafficking, 90 of those being since January 2013.

There has also been a focus on the area of training for personnel who may come in contact with victims.  In March 2013, approximately fifty (50) persons from public sector entities such as the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), and the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA), Ministries of National Security, Justice and Labour and Social Security participated in the USA Department of Homeland Security training on TIP/Child Exploitation/Forced Child Labour.  The training focused on sharing best practices related to investigation, prosecution, victim identification and assistance.

Regarding the prevention of Trafficking in Persons in Jamaica, a number of public awareness/prevention activities were undertaken between April 2012 and March 2013.  An islandwide public education campaign was launched to sensitize persons vulnerable to Human Trafficking about the issue.  Activities included public fora in schools, an outside broadcast at the Half Way Tree Transportation Centre in December 2012, and another at the Ocean Village Shopping Center in Ocho Rios and the production of flyers and posters, and other TIP promotional material.  A wallet sized card with pertinent TIP information was also produced and disseminated and the Chairman of the Task Force as well as representative from TIP Unit of JCF spoke about the issue on a popular radio station’s Editor’s Forum. Approximately $5million has been spent on activities in relation to the prevention of Trafficking in Persons between April 2012 and March 2013.

For the upcoming Financial Year 2013/2014, there will be a greater focus placed on issues relating to sensitization.  Organizations such as the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and the Tourism Product Development Company, will be engaged for partnership while outreach to libraries, service clubs and community based organizations, will be continued and increased.
Through sponsorship, billboards will be mounted in strategic locations and advertisements on buses as part of the increased public education effort.  There will also be an increase in the use of social media platforms such as the newly established Human Trafficking Facebook page.

Additionally the Government of Jamaica has approved a budget for the establishment of an Anti Trafficking in Persons Secretariat to support the work of NATFATIP.

Human Trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving victims who are typically forced, defrauded or coerced into various forms of exploitation.
 
For more information on TIP or to give comments and make queries please visit our Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/StopTipJA or join us on twitter @StopTipJA


 




Posted By :Justice Education Unit

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