Jamaica is proud to join the global community in observing International Day against Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking of Women and Children, established by the World Conference of the Coalition against Trafficking in coordination with the Women’s Conference held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in January 1999. Human Trafficking or modern day slavery is an international organized crime against humanity that has affected virtually every country. This illegal trade is the third most lucrative after arms trafficking and drugs. It involves women, men, children and teenagers being lured or coerced into the network of traffickers and suffering a wide variety of abuses, including sexual exploitation, servile marriage and various forms of forced labour.
The Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Justice has responded to this urgent call for action by implementing several strategies to combat Human Trafficking. The National Task Force against Trafficking in Persons was established in June 2005 as a multi-agency approach to enhancing national capacity. It has taken the lead in developing and implementing Jamaica’s legislative, institutional and operational responses to Trafficking in Persons. The Chairperson of the National Task Force is Mrs. Carol Palmer, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, who is to be commended for her steadfast commitment to tackling the scourge of Human Trafficking in Jamaica.
The Government of Jamaica enacted the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression, and Punishment) Act 2007, which was amended this year to introduce stiffer penalties for offenders and to provide a statutory mechanism for victim compensation. This strengthening of the legislative framework has also bolstered prosecutorial effectiveness by expanding the range of offences for which charges may be brought against offenders. Jamaica has been steadily increasing the fight against Human Trafficking.
- Statement by Senator the Hon. Mark Golding