Jamaicans Warned, “Look out for Human Trafficking Signs”

With the endorsement from Governor-General, His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen, who has proclaimed, July 24-30, 2016 as Trafficking in Persons Week (TIP); Mrs. Carol Palmer, is warning Jamaicans against the many disguises of Human Trafficking.

Mrs. Palmer, the Chair of the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) was speaking at a Church Service to mark TIP Week, hosted by the Tarrant Baptist Church, Molynes Road, Kingston on Sunday, July 24.

Scores of worshippers listened including the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Paula Llewellyn and members of the NATFATIP Committee as she spoke.

 “Trafficking in Persons is a multibillion dollar industry. In fact, it is the third largest and fastest growing crime in the world behind trade in illegal guns and drugs. Currently, there is an estimated 45.8 million people that have been made subject to some form of Modern Day Slavery,” she said.

 

Members of the congregation at Tarrant Baptist Church listen, among them Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn (seated front left), as Carol Palmer makes her presentation.

She informed that while this global crime is not unique to Jamaica, “What is evidence to this pervasive phenomenon in our country is the clandestine nature of the offence which tends to obscure the truth of its existence, but is evident in the luring of our females and children under the guise of ‘massage parlours’.”

Mrs. Palmer, was quick to point out that, “Men, though to a lesser extent”, are also victims of Human Trafficking.

She elaborated that family members practice this crime in its abuse of a member, where the family member may be sent to another parish for a better life, but instead are subject to domestic household assistance or domestic servitude.

“We are on a path to ensure that Jamaica becomes free from Human Trafficking. We are trying to engage every Jamaican in this fight because we can’t do it by ourselves, we need your help,” concluded Mrs. Palmer.

TIP Week, in its second consecutive year; seeks to heighten awareness of Human Trafficking, as a heinous criminal offence. It also acknowledges the importance of providing support to the victims who have been dehumanized. The week of activities will climax with a grand march which begins at the Ministry of Labour Social Security building at 14 National Heroes Circle; continues on East Street, Queen Street and ends at St. William Grant Park- Downtown- Kingston on July 30, in recognition of World Trafficking in Persons Day.

 

As the Jamaican Government, through its multi-agency committee NATFATIP, continues to reinforce its commitment to prosecute traffickers and protect victims; it is also recording significant successes which include:

  • The enactment of the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppressions and Punishment) Act 2007 with recent amendments in 2013;
  • The collaborative efforts between the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, four convictions were secured;
  • The United States’ State Department improved Jamaica’s ranking from Tier 2 Watch List, to upper Tier 2;
  • The establishment of  shelters for victims of  Human Trafficking;
  • The development of a Trafficking in Persons database;
  • Facilitating the sensitization of more than 4,500 persons on the topic of Human Trafficking, including police officers, health workers and other first responders

 

From left (front row): Carol Palmer, Chair of the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP);  Latoya Waugh, Chair of NATFATIP Prevention Sub-committee and Karen Clarke-Davis, Chief Technical Director at the Ministry of Justice with other  members and supporters of the NATFATIP Taskforce.  

Photo and story by Dyhann Buddoo-Fletcher