Jamaican Authorities Clamp Down On Companies Engaging In Human Trafficking


Companies involved in trafficking persons and tricking victims through false advertisements in the print media, will not be allowed to thrive, as the Government institutes measures to prevent and suppress the crime.

"The police are on a very intensive drive, going into [these] places," said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Chairman of the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), Carol Palmer, at a recent public forum on human trafficking, held at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library.

"Reports now reflect that people have closed down their operations because of police going up on their businesses," Mrs. Palmer pointed out, assuring that the police were being "trained to understand the crime and how to use the investigative methods to get at these persons."

Speaking at the same forum, which targeted some 300 students from schools in the Corporate Area, Youth Empowerment Officer, National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD), Keitho Nembhard described the profile of the perpetrators and cautioned participants not to be too easily enticed by advertisements.

"Have you ever seen in any of our print media advertisements asking for helpers, specifically helpers from the rural communities? Have you ever seen, where it says 'help wanted; massage parlour needs [specific] type of girls or ads asking for young ladies to be waitresses in hotels and various organisations?"

Mr. Nembhard asked, while alerting students to strategies used in the crime.

He also advised students to be on the lookout for people coming into their communities talking about job placement or overseas work/study programmes, and explained that these were the disguises that perpetrators use to trick young people into thinking that the offer is wholesome and lucrative.

While acknowledging that not all of these agencies were using the guise to exploit persons, he said that most of them took this approach.

Mr. Nembhard further urged participants to support the fight against this major human rights violation by reporting known or suspected cases of trafficking to the authorities. "Don't be afraid of any outside influence telling you to shut up," he implored.

Recognizing that human trafficking was also facilitated in the domestic setting in some instances, Mr. Nembhard also told students not to be afraid to report "when your parents coerce you into granting sexual favours to other people outside the parish, inside the parish or even to your own family members."

Since April 2006, nine victims of human trafficking have been rescued in Jamaica, six of whom were over 18 years old and three between the ages 13 and 17. Five persons were charged with trafficking a child, under the Child Care and Protection Act, 2004.

A significant measure in the national attack on human trafficking is the establishment of the Trafficking in Persons Unit in the Jamaica Constabulary Force to handle cases of human trafficking.

A drive to educate the public about the issue is considered as seminal to the success of the effort. Consequently NATFATIP is collaborating with the Jamaica Library Service to host a series of public education forums in libraries across the island. The mass media is also being used as a platform to transmit messages against human trafficking.

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