U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jamaica
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jamaica, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3ba23.html [accessed 28 February 2015]|
Jamaica (Tier 2)
Jamaica is principally a source country for women and children trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. The majority of victims are Jamaican women and girls, and increasingly boys, who are trafficked from rural to urban and tourist areas for sexual exploitation. Some children are subjected to conditions of forced labor as domestic servants.
The Government of Jamaica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government enacted comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation and intensified law enforcement and prevention efforts. In the coming year, the government should increase efforts to identify and investigate acts of human trafficking, convict and punish traffickers for their crimes, and improve services for trafficking victims.
The Government of Jamaica increased its law enforcement efforts against human trafficking during the reporting period. In February, the government passed and enacted the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2007, comprehensive legislation that prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons and related offenses such as withholding a victim's passport or receiving financial benefits from trafficking crimes. The new law became effective on March 1, 2007, and prescribes penalties of up to 10 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with punishments prescribed for other grave crimes. During the reporting period, the government initiated six trafficking prosecutions under older laws; these prosecutions are ongoing. Police also conducted high-profile raids on hotels and 37 suspected sites of sex trafficking; nine trafficking victims were found.
In November 2006, the government launched a comprehensive study of human trafficking, focusing on vulnerable persons and communities, to gain a better understanding of the problem and to set up a system for collection of trafficking data. The government conducted widespread anti-trafficking training of police, prosecutors, and immigration and consular officials during the reporting period. A police Airport Interdiction Task Force, created through a memorandum of understanding between Jamaica and the United States, actively investigates cases of drug trafficking and human trafficking at ports of entry. No reports of public officials' complicity in human trafficking were received in 2006.
The government's efforts to protect trafficking victims remained limited during the reporting period. Child trafficking victims are referred to government-run shelters, but there are no shelters serving adults. Nonetheless, the government provides medical, psychological, and legal services for all trafficking victims and occasionally places adult victims in hotels or other temporary facilities. Pursuant to the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2007, Jamaican authorities encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. Victims are not penalized for immigration violations or other unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Jamaica provides temporary residency for foreign trafficking victims and other legal alternatives to deportation or removal.
The government stepped up prevention efforts during the reporting period. High-level government officials condemned human trafficking in public statements. In preparation for the Cricket World Cup, the government requested anti-trafficking training and materials from IOM, and pledged to erect anti-trafficking billboards at all ports of entry. Posters advertise 24-hour hotlines to report suspected human trafficking cases. The government also partnered with Air Jamaica to include anti-trafficking information on all flights. The government sponsored two anti-trafficking education events that reached nearly 800 people, and the Bureau of Women's Affairs conducted 21 anti-trafficking workshops for approximately 2,100 people.