U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jamaica
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||14 June 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jamaica, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8273d4.html [accessed 20 October 2014]|
Jamaica (Tier 2 Watch List)
Jamaica is a country of internal trafficking of children for sexual exploitation. Victims often travel from rural areas to urban and tourist centers where they are trafficked into prostitution. Child pornography involving trafficking victims is a concern on the island. The ILO estimated in 2001 that several hundred minors are involved in Jamaica's sex trade. Jamaica is also a transit country for illegal migrants moving to the U.S. and Canada; some of these migrants are believed to be trafficking victims.
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. Lacking a specific anti-trafficking statute, Jamaican officials have been stymied in efforts to arrest and prosecute traffickers who target children. A new "Child Care and Protection Act" was passed in 2004; law enforcement officials should take steps to implement it as promptly and effectively as possible. Corruption among immigration officials in facilitating the unauthorized international movement of persons remains a concern. Because this assessment is based on the government's commitment to vigorously enforce the Child Care and Protection Act rather than on concrete actions during the reporting period, Jamaica is placed on Tier 2 Watch List.
Jamaica law enforcement efforts against traffickers were weak during 2003. The government's law enforcement strategy against child sex trafficking is based upon the new Child Care and Protection Act. The government does not collect law enforcement data on trafficking. From information provided on related offenses, it is clear that few arrests or prosecutions of child sex traffickers have occurred. The government is working with the IOM to enhance its ability to detect transnational trafficking, and an island-wide passenger entry and exit system is expected to be operational in the summer of 2004. In February 2004, Jamaican authorities arrested one Canadian and two Polish nationals attempting to smuggle nine Chinese nationals from Jamaica to the Bahamas.
The government has no formal policy for protecting child trafficking victims, but they are offered the same general assistance through social services to the needy and vulnerable that are provided to other children removed from abusive situations. There are no government-funded shelters specifically for trafficking victims, but the government's Child Development Agency oversees facilities for at-risk children. The government provides funding to NGOs that work to reintegrate child laborers who are victims of trafficking.
Government officials recognize that children in poverty are vulnerable to trafficking, but government engagement is limited by resource constraints. The government's strategy is to work with international organizations such as UNICEF and ILO to carry out public awareness campaigns that focus on child education and women's empowerment. The government participates in an ILO program to combat child commercial sexual exploitation and child labor in the tourism industry. A campaign is planned to inform the public on the new Child Care and Protection Act, which includes provisions to protect trafficking victims and prosecute offenders.