Judge-only trials for accused human traffickers

Monday, May 09, 2016

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PEOPLE charged with human trafficking in Jamaica will soon be tried without a jury.

This was stated by Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck at the launch of ‘Operation Uplift’, a new strategy to fight human trafficking in Jamaica, at the Police Officers Club on May 6.

Chuck pointed out that the recommendation for trial by judge only was made by the director of public prosecutions following a recent case in which someone tried to interfere with the jury.

"The ministry has accepted that recommendation and it will be presented to Cabinet. I have no doubt the recommendation will be accepted and the amendment to the legislation will be in Parliament within a matter of weeks. We are working very hard to develop this piece of legislation," he said, adding that work is underway to develop a comprehensive national policy.

The Trafficking in Persons, Prevention, Suppression and Punishment Act was passed into law in 2007, with critical amendments in 2013 to provide stiffer penalties for traffickers and for restitution orders to be made by the judiciary in the welfare of the victims in the same proceedings.

"The Government of Jamaica stands with the international community to stamp out human trafficking and is fully committed to bringing this crime under control, and we will be relentless in our efforts to ensure that Jamaica is no longer a transit point," Chuck said.

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