Jamaica among several C'bean countries given failing grade for trafficking in persons

Thursday, June 20, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The United States on Thursday listed Jamaica among several Caribbean countries which it said were not in compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons (TIP).

Of the Caribbean countries listed in the “2019 Trafficking in Persons Report,” only the Bahamas and Guyana “fully” met the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Washington said the authorities in Nassau and Georgetown continued to demonstrate “serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period” and as a result, the two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries remained on Tier 1.

But the report noted that the Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago had been placed on Tier 2.

In the case of Jamaica, the State Department said while Kingston is “making significant efforts” to deal with TIP, it still does not “fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking”.

It said the efforts undertaken by the government included investigating and prosecuting more suspected traffickers, achieving a swift conviction that included prison time, and publishing its first annual report on trafficking in persons in Jamaica.

“The government also increased funding for anti-trafficking efforts. However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas. Increased funding did not result in improved protections for victims or increased accountability for traffickers.

“The government identified fewer victims compared to the previous year; it provided minimal services to identified victims and did not refer any Jamaican victims to shelters; and it convicted only one trafficker. Public awareness and outreach activities were ineffective in increasing officials' and the public's capacity to identify and appropriately respond to suspected cases of trafficking in their communities,” the report added.


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