The Road to Progress: Human Trafficking in Jamaica
Human trafficking in Jamaica was once a national crisis. However, heightened awareness across the island has proved effective. Today, Jamaica aims to facilitate the increased vigilance of human trafficking and forced labor through programs and education.
Human Trafficking in Jamaica Rankings
On an annual basis, countries are divided into tiers based on their efforts to comply with standards outlined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000. In 2005, Jamaica had a Tier 3 ranking as a “source, transit and destination” for human traffickers. The tiers are:
Tier 1 – The country has shown thorough acknowledgment and enforcement against trafficking in persons.
Tier 2 – The country has not fully met standards, but is making effective efforts to increase compliance.
Tier 3 – The country has not fully met standards and is not making effective efforts to increase compliance.
Since then, Jamaica began exploring and enforcing the research and specifics of anti-trafficking methods. The Government of Jamaica devoted $15 million in support of victim rehabilitation and the actions toward increased anti-trafficking legislation. As a result of these investments, the island nation improved to Tier 2 by 2014.
How Jamaica Applied Anti-Trafficking Methods
Carol Palmer, the chair of the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) released a statement on July 24, 2016, describing the human trafficking conditions in Jamaica. “We are on a path to ensure that Jamaica becomes free from Human Trafficking. We are trying to engage every Jamaican in this fight because we can’t do it by ourselves, we need your help.”
NATFATIP applied the following methods to combat human trafficking in Jamaica:
Providing Shelters for victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced labor.
Further enforcements in arrests, prosecutions and convictions of traffickers.
The development of the Trafficking in Person database.
Facilitating human trafficking education to police officers, first responders and the public
Enforcing human trafficking offenders to a mandated 10 – 30 year sentence.
Furthermore; the Office of National Rapporteur on Trafficking In Persons (ONRTIP) sought to hire research analysts tasked with reporting “detailed information on human trafficking victims, prosecutions, investigations and victim support services.” ONRTIP also partnered with the US-based Warnath Group’s Child Protection Compact in launching a new user-friendly resource library that provides information and resources for concerned citizens.
EU Commended Jamaica For Leadership Efforts
In a meeting with the European Union Delegation members, the Jamaican government and anti-trafficking organizations were commended for “their leadership in fighting against human trafficking.” During the meeting, members also voiced efforts to support multidisciplinary actions such as awareness campaigns, targeted policies and programming, among other methods.
Jamaica was once a source, transit and destination for human traffickers to lure women, men and children into forced labor. In recent years Jamaica has strengthened its local awareness and as a result, NAFTATIP concluded that between 2010 and 2018, 750 anti-trafficking operations were conducted; 82 victims have found refuge; 30 suspected traffickers have been arrested and 3 prostitution rings were dissolved.
– Ayesha Swaray