Jamaica clamps down on human trafficking
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 7, CMC – With international pressure mounting on Jamaica to re-double its efforts to clamp down on human trafficking, the task force appointed to deal with this issue is pushing for amendments to already existing legislation.
According to Carol Palmer, Chairperson of the Task force Against Human Trafficking, the recommended amendments will be submitted to Cabinet shortly for approval. She said the changes were aimed at increasing penalties as well as including other aspects of human trafficking that may not have been included in previous legislation. She also revealed that they were contemplating changes to the legislation to increase for the penalty for human trafficking from 10 years to life imprisonment.
Another step taken by the task force was the establishment of a shelter for victims.
“We have the national plan of action that takes into account the various recommendations that came out of the 2012 report and we are working apace at achieving all of those recommendations .For example our shelter is now ready so that if there is a victim today that person can immediately be removed to the shelter”
She added that in addition to legislative change the establishment of a shelter is one of the principal requirements when looking to aid victims of human trafficking.
Meanwhile, the Jamaica Constabulary Force will be increasing its efforts to make members more aware of the crime of human trafficking and related offenses. Head of the Anti-Trafficking Unit of the Organized Crime Investigations Division, Detective Inspector, and Carl Berry said training in human trafficking has now been included in the curriculum of the police academy.
“We have developed a curriculum for the training school, but not only that, every division that we have they have been mandated, trained and sensitized to not only to look at but to effectively executive operations on suspected sites.
Last year the US state department placed Jamaica on the tier two watch list for human trafficking. In June, National Security Minister, Peter Bunting responded by saying that a five-member ministerial team has been set up to respond to the downgrade and to ensure that Jamaica is fully compliant with the minimum standards to combat human trafficking.