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Partnerships key in human trafficking fight, says justice ministry

Sunday, January 21, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Permanent Secretary in the Justice Ministry, Carol Palmer, is emphasising the importance of partnerships with local and international stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking.

Noting the country’s collaboration with the United States Government, she said that the anti-trafficking efforts “cannot be done by any one country on its own.”

“The secret to winning on human trafficking is to know that you cannot fight alone. The National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) and the police cannot do it by themselves,” she added.

Palmer was speaking at the final in the series of the regional Trafficking in Persons (TIP) school awareness tours at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in Mona, St Andrew on January 19.

NATFATIP and the United States Embassy collaborated to stage the tours across the island from January 16-19 to promote awareness of human trafficking among young people and mark Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Palmer, who is also the chairperson of NATFATIP, said that the tours were important as part of the effort to raise awareness about the scourge of human trafficking.

“We need to educate ourselves, which is what we are about. We have to educate every Jamaican,” she noted.

In emphasising the importance of education, the permanent secretary recounted an incident involving men from India, who were brought into the island to work in Indian-owned businesses.

“Some people thought that something was suspicious in how the men were being treated and called in the police. It was determined after their investigation, that it was human trafficking,” she said.

Head of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit at the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Carl Berry, agreed that partnerships are vital in eradicating the scourge.

Global statistics indicate that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking and traffickers are making billions from the crime.

“It is a global fight. If criminals make US$150 billion per year, then no government can do this alone,” he argued.

Berry noted that Jamaica ranks as the top Caribbean country in the fight against human trafficking and has been providing consultation, support and training to other states in the region.

“We have rescued 76 victims in the last five years and our data shows that we are doing more, which is a credit to the police especially but also to the framework, which has been created by the Government through NATFATIP and the Ministry of National Security. We’re doing reasonably well,” he noted.

Political and Economic Officer at the US Embassy in Kingston, Daniel Walker said his Government is committed to providing global leadership in eradicating human trafficking.

“Human trafficking, that is to say, modern day slavery, exists in the United States; it exists in Jamaica. As we seek the ultimate goal of seeing that the last victim of trafficking is free and the last perpetrator brought to justice, we must seek that global solution together,” he said.

The US Department of State, in its 2016 TIP Report, ranked Jamaica at Tier Two for its efforts to fight human trafficking.

Tier Two consists of those countries whose governments do not fully meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to comply.

Last year, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said Jamaica was aiming for a Tier One ranking.

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