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Youth Ambassador urges ramped up fight against human trafficking

BY NADINE WILSON Observer staff reporter wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 | 4:39 PM    

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JAMAICA'S youth ambassador, Tameka Hill, has called on the government to be more proactive in its response to human trafficking, following the country's most recent downgrade by the United States State Department. 

Jamaica was downgraded from a Tier Two to a Tier Two Watch List in the US State Department 2012 report on trafficking in person. A Tier Two Watch List ranking suggests that the country has a significant number of victims of severe forms of trafficking, and has failed to provide evidence of increased efforts to combat trafficking.

"While I commend the actions of the government to date, the initiatives and programmes implemented are not consistent. We cannot continue to wait for the publication of a report or our subsequent downgrade before certain actions are taken," Hill told the Jamaica Observer.

The youth ambassador noted that both the present and previous administrations have not done enough to fight human trafficking. This she said has resulted in Jamaica now being classified as a source, transit and destination country in the global multi-billion dollar trafficking in persons (TIP) industry. 

Hill recommended that more efforts be placed in public education and in ensuring that cases before the courts are prosecuted swiftly.

"We cannot allow our country to appear as a possible playground for traffickers, we have to show that we are as serious as any developed country in protecting our people from this human rights violation, and this cannot be done simply by reacting to each report. This has to be done with careful planning and proactive measures," she said.

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