Jamaica’s human trafficking rank upgraded

Friday, July 01, 2016

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica has been commended and upgraded to a Tier 2 ranking in its fight against Trafficking in Persons (TIP) by the US Department of State in its 2016 TIP Report, the Ministry of Justice announced yesterday. 
According to a release from the ministry, the country’s compliance with Human Trafficking laws and its comprehensive and multi-pronged approach to tackling this threat to human safety and freedom have garnered positive international attention. 
The US Department of State, in its 2016 Report published yesterday, ranked the island up from a Tier 2 Watch List. 
A Tier 2 ranking means that the country is making important strides in tackling this scourge and is well on its way to full compliance with international Human Trafficking laws and standards.
Although the island has not reached a Tier 1 ranking, the US State Department has noted significant improvements in how we treat with victims and criminals involved in this transnational crime.  
The Report noted that the Government increased efforts to investigate, prosecute and convict traffickers. The country secured two convictions, over the reporting period for Forced Labour and Sex Trafficking. The country received recognition for the charges proffered against a public official.
Among the Highlights of the Report, Jamaica’s efforts in its protection of victims were acknowledged. The TIP shelter continues to be in operation, offering care and protection to victims. 
In terms of the Prevention Strategies employed by the Government to combat Human Trafficking in all its forms, the National Anti–trafficking Plan, which is valid through to 2018, has added traction to the new ranking.   
In its commitment to heighten capacity building, the Government said it has trained 563 police officers in combating Human Trafficking, up from 128 at the time of the previous reporting period. It has also given attention to border control measures which saw partnership across many ministries for the training of the Police, Coast Guards, Customs, and immigration officials. Additionally, members of the tourism industry and foreign service sectors received training and were encouraged to report suspected cases. The closure of three establishments suspected of facilitating illegal activity, was a major highlight of the report.
The country was also assessed on its prosecutorial efforts, protection of victims and preventative measures to combat Human Trafficking. 
 There are 4 Tiers that are designated to rank countries based on their response to this transnational organized criminal network and for 2014 and 2015 Jamaica had been placed on the Tier 2 Watch List category.

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