The National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) was established in June 2005 as a multi agency approach by the Government of Jamaica to strengthen Jamaica’s legislative, institutional and operational capacity to combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
In keeping with domestic legislation- the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act, 2007- trafficking in persons is defined by three criteria:
Activity: The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.
Means: By means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power, or a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person.
Purpose: for the purpose of exploitation.
The Taskforce was established under the chairmanship of Mrs. Carol Palmer, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice from 2005 to 2008. Subsequent to this, the chairmanship of the Taskforce was held under several Permanent Secretaries under the Ministry of National Security from 2008 to 2012. In late 2012, the Ministry of Justice resumed Chairmanship of the Taskforce.
The Public Order Committee of Cabinet oversees human trafficking in Jamaica and makes recommendation through the Chairperson of the Taskforce, who in turn reports to the Committee. These recommendations are implemented by the Taskforce and further monitored through the Trafficking in Persons Secretariat, which resides in the Ministry of Justice.
NATFATIP is mandated in the following areas:
The National Taskforce is comprised of representatives of the following Ministries, Agencies, and Organisations:
The NATFATIP is organised in three subcommittees. These are Protection, Prevention/Public Education and Prosecution. The work of the taskforce is driven by these Sub-Committees through their implementation of the Taskforce’s National Plan of Action.
The Government of Jamaica is a signatory to and has ratified the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 2002, which declares that State Parties “shall endeavor to undertake measures such, including bilateral or multilateral cooperation, to alleviate the factors that make persons, especially women and children, vulnerable to trafficking, such as poverty, underdevelopment, and lack of opportunity”. The Protocol was signed 13 February 2002 and ratified 29 September 2003.
In keeping with its international obligation; the acknowledged pervasive and exploitive nature of human trafficking; and the recognized need to protect its citizenry, especially those amongst vulnerable populations, the Government of Jamaica enacted the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression, and Punishment) Act, 2007. This is the main piece of legislation used to prosecute the trafficking in persons offence; however, other supportive legislations are used in that regard. They are:
The National Plan of Action for combating Trafficking in Persons in Jamaica was approved by the Cabinet in December 2012. The Plan of Action constitutes a robust approach to dealing with Human Trafficking and is organised under three areas, consistent with the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment Act, 2007). These areas are Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.
In June 2013 Jamaica was upgraded on the United States' State Department trafficking in persons from the Tier 2 watch list to Tier 2.
The Task Force engaged in several successful activities which are listed below:
·The substantive work of the Protection Subcommittee during the period was the development of a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Data Sharing Protocols. Its purpose is to establish a standard protocol to govern TIP data collection and information sharing among key stakeholders represented on the Task Force.
·The refurbishment, furnishing and operationalisation of the TIP shelter
·In addition to this government shelter, the Task Force continues to be actively engaged in identifying additional accommodation for various categories of TIP victims, particularly male victims.
·The Shelter Guidelines 2008 has been revised and renamed: Victim Management Guidelines. This document outlines the general guidelines and basic procedures to be undertaken by facilities that provide care for victims of human trafficking in Jamaica. The Guidelines are based on the international minimum standards and for the operation of care facilities, and are made with adherence to the Trafficking in Persons Act.
·The Task Force has developed a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) database. The main purpose for the development of this database is to improve national capacity of the NATFATIP to collect, analyse and share TIP related data to meet policy, programme and strategies to prevent human trafficking, prosecute perpetrators and protect victims.
·The Jamaica Constabulary Force developed and brought into force Standard Operating Procedures for human trafficking, which seeks to assist or guide officials in proactively identifying trafficking victims and refer them to available services.
·On March 9, 2015, the Government of Jamaica appointed a National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons. Cabinet approved the appointment of the Children’s Advocate as Jamaica’s National Rapporteur for this purpose. This is a part of the Government’s efforts in continuing on its path of pursuing progressive initiatives in its fight against trafficking in persons. This appointment makes Jamaica the first Caribbean nation to embrace this approach and highlights the seriousness with which the Government of Jamaica regards this issue.
Prosecution/Law Enforcement Activity
The Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act, was amended in August 2013. The amendments include inter alia:
· The definition of Trafficking in Persons was broadened to include debt bondage. Stiffer penalties for TIP offences; the punishment for the offence was increased from ten to twenty years imprisonment (especially where other aggravating circumstances exist), for example if:
a. Drugs are involved;
b. The victim is a minor;
c. The victim suffered permanent physical and/or mental harm.
· The trial judge may now order that restitution be paid to victims without victims having to take the matter to a Civil Court. (See the full amendments on the website give link.)
· On March 1, 2015 the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Intellectual Property Unit of the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Division conducted an operation in Trelawny. This operation resulted in the arrest of three persons for trafficking in persons related activities, including living off the earnings of prostitution.
Task Force members participated in several local, regional and international training workshops and conferences which were sponsored by the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and included the following:
· A Prosecutors’ Training Seminar held between 30th January and 2nd February 2014. Eighty-eight (88) participants drawn from the justice sector were trained.
· The 34th Annual Crime Stoppers International Conference held in Barbados between 29thSeptember and 2nd October, 2013 under the Theme: “Reinventing for the Future”.
· Training on “National Plans of Action” held in Antigua and Barbuda, April, 2013.
· Training on “Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)” held in St Vincent and the Grenadines in July 2013.
Cognizant of the Minimum Standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons, The Government through the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons, continues to employ various public education measures as a means of preventing severe forms of trafficking. The following are some of the activities during the period April - March 2014-2015:
On August 28, 2015 a Border Control Training Seminar was held at the Courtleigh Hotel & Suites. The main purpose of the training was to sensitize “First Responders” on the issues of human trafficking. Participants included representatives from the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guards, Immigration Officers, Custom Officers and the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Trafficking in Persons Unit.
·On March 1, 2015 the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Intellectual Property Unit of the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Division conducted an operation in Trelawny. This operation resulted in the arrest of three persons for trafficking in persons related activities, including living off the earnings of prostitution.
In 2014 seven human trafficking matters were brought before the courts. The forms of offences included withholding of travel documents to facilitate trafficking in persons, child pornography and living on the earnings of prostitution.
Human Trafficking Conviction
On June 19, 2015 Jamaica has secured its first human trafficking conviction since the enactment of the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act, 2007.
Operation of the TIP Vice Squad
As part of the mandate to serve, protect, investigate and prosecute all offences, covert equipment were handed over to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Vice Squad on February 26, 2015. The main aim of providing this equipment is to increase prosecution of persons involved in human trafficking and also to improve the evidence that the police will be able to gather and reduce the dependence on victims to cooperate.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Cognizant of the need to protect victims of severe forms of trafficking, the substantive work of the Protection Subcommittee during the period included inter alia, the development of a draft Memorandum of Understanding on Data Sharing Protocols, which is now under review. Its purpose is to establish a standard protocol to govern TIP data collection and information sharing among key stakeholders represented on the Task Force.
Jamaica Constabulary Force Standard Operating Procedures
The Jamaica Constabulary Force developed and brought into force Standard Operating Procedures for human trafficking, which seeks to assist or guide officials in proactively identifying trafficking victims and refer them to available services.
Consequent on its refurbishment in 2012-2013, the TIP Shelter continues to be fully operational. The Task Force along with the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Victim Services Division (VSD) provides medical, psychological and physical support for the occupants.
Generally the services which are provided to victims include the following:
Revised Shelter Guidelines
The Shelter Guidelines 2008 has been revised and renamed: Victim Management Guidelines. This document outlines the general guidelines and basic procedures to be undertaken by facilities that provide care for victims of human trafficking in Jamaica. The Guidelines are based on the international minimum standards and for the operation of care facilities, and are made with adherence to the Trafficking in Persons Act.
Appointment of Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons
On March 9, 2015, the Government of Jamaica appointed a National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons. Cabinet approved the appointment of the Children’s Advocate as Jamaica’s National Rapporteur for this purpose. This is a part of the Government’s efforts in continuing on its path of pursuing progressive initiatives in its fight against trafficking in persons.
This appointment makes Jamaica the first Caribbean nation to embrace this approach and highlights the seriousness with which the Government of Jamaica regards this issue.
One of the primary functions of the National Rapporteur is to provide independent reporting on the issue of trafficking in the country. The Rapporteur will also conduct independent examinations/investigations of reports of alleged instances of human trafficking where the need arises; to report on violations, wherever they may occur, of the rights of victims, as well as discrimination, threats or use of violence, harassment, intimidation or reprisals directed at persons exercising these rights; and to provide an analytical overview of the situation in trafficking in an annual report to the Government of Jamaica.
These powers of the National Rapporteur are consistent with internationally accepted best practice and are parallel to National Rapporteur models in other countries, such as Finland, from which the local model was developed.
Recognizing that a targeted, well sustained public education campaign is a critical component in preventing and protecting those most vulnerable amongst the population from human trafficking, especially women and children, the National Task Force against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Justice, has embarked on the revitalization of its public education programme with the overall objective to build on past successes and raise greater awareness.
Towards this end several public awareness/prevention activities for the period April - March 2015 were held. They included:
·Development of a comprehensive, strategic Communication Plan to guide the work of the Public Education Sub-Committee.
·A Facebook page was developed in March 2013 with the assistance of the Communications Unit in the Ministry of National Security.
·Distribution of TIP Wallet cards to over 15000 officials working in areas relevant to TIP such as the JCF; CISOCA, Immigration to assist in identifying victims of trafficking.
·Human Trafficking Forum at St. Elizabeth Technical High School, St. Elizabeth on May 31, 2012. This forum was held as an outreach to students, teachers and guidance counsellors in accordance with the theme, “Be wise: Open your eyes, Spot Them, Stop Them. Be Slick – Don’t be Tricked”.
·Think Tank Session on Human Trafficking with JIS.
·Radio Outside Broadcast on Human Trafficking on RJR 94 FM at the Half Way Tree Transport Centre, St. Andrew on December 6, 2012 from 2:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m. The awareness activity was aired on the popular programme ‘Ruption’, hosted by media personality Miss Kitty; this was chosen based on its wide reach amongst the targeted adolescent and young adult demographic, to include high school students, young women and girls, and potential clients of the sex trade.
·On March 1, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m. a Radio Outside Broadcast on Human Trafficking on RJR 94 FM at the Ocean Village Shopping Centre, Ocho Rios, St. Ann.
·Six Town Hall meetings were conducted island wide last year. Using a multi-agency approach, the Child Development Agency, along with the Office of the Children’s Registry, Office of the Children’s Advocate Ministry of Labour and Social Security; the JCF Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse. The events cumulatively impacted 650 individuals. They were held in: St. James at Granville All Age; Kingston and St. Andrew at Trench Town Multi-purpose centre; Westmoreland at Sean Lavery Faith Hall; Manchester at Mandeville Parish Church Hall; St. Ann; and St. Catherine.
·Under the JCF TIP Unit 44 lecturers were conducted to sensitize against Trafficking in Persons. These lecturers resulted in the sensitization of 749 police officers; 481 students at various institutions of learning; and 547 other individuals to include the general public.
A number of activities have been planned for the financial year 2015 to 2016. Some of these include:
·Community-based intervention, targeting victims and those vulnerable to TIP
·Continue to prevent and combat human trafficking through public education
·Training and sensitization for Victim Services Personnel to maximise victim identification; assistance; treatment and protection of victims.
·Follow-up training and sensitization for Prosecutors, Border Control Personnel Resident Magistrates and the Judiciary in Trafficking in Persons to create greater awareness and understanding of TIP-related matters.
·Mounting of TIP posters and bill boards in strategic area
·Establish mechanisms/structures for greater collaboration with Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs) to contain, punish and prevent TIP and remedy its negative impact
·To develop a National Anti TIP Policy
·Institutionalization of counter TIP training in the training curricula at the Jamaica
Constabulary Staff College and the Passport, Immigration and Citizens Agency for immigration officers.
·Establishment of Protocol to facilitate greater coordination between the TIP Unit/CISOCA; CDA/VSU/OCA/MOH and other entities involved in care and protection of children.
·Establishment of standard operating procedures/protocols to govern how victims of trafficking are treated especially woman and children without guardian or those who are mentally ill.
Increased outreach for agencies and organizations such as the Jamaica hotel and Tourist Association, the Tourism Development Company, libraries, schools, service clubs, and community based organizations.