Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July 2014, 17:47 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jamaica

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jamaica, 3 June 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d84b23.html [accessed 1 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Jamaica (Tier 3)

Jamaica is a source country for children trafficked internally for the purpose of sexual exploitation. A 2001 ILO report cited that more than 100 minors, both boys and girls, are involved in Jamaica's sex trade. Precise numbers of trafficking victims are difficult to establish due to the underground and under-acknowledged nature of trafficking in the country. Victims often travel from rural areas to urban and tourist centers where they are trafficked into prostitution sometimes with the encouragement or complicity of their families. Jamaica is a transit country for illegal migrants moving to the U.S. and Canada; some may be trafficking victims. Jamaicans are also trafficked into forced labor in the United States.

The Government of Jamaica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Jamaican officials failed to undertake any significant efforts to arrest and prosecute traffickers who target children. The government in March 2004 passed the Child Care and Protection Act and has conducted an associated nationwide campaign related to some aspects of the law. However, some of the Act's provisions have not yet been implemented. Additionally, there was no discernable action taken against traffickers who sexually exploit children. Jamaica needs to increase its efforts to create mechanisms to report crimes, ensure the safety of victims, and effectively prosecute and convict traffickers. Additionally, actions should be taken against corrupt officials who are facilitating the unauthorized international movement of persons.

Prosecution

Jamaica's law enforcement efforts during the reporting period were weak and did not target traffickers. The government's law enforcement strategy against child sex trafficking was based upon the 2004 Child Care and Protection Act, which does not address the problem in sufficient depth. There have been no substantial law enforcement steps taken to identify and investigate trafficking cases under the Act, although the Act has been invoked numerous times to prosecute and convict cases of child abuse and other violations of children's rights. However, there were no reported trafficking-specific investigations, arrests, prosecutions, or convictions over the past year. There has been some limited training for police on the rights of the child as provided for under the Child Care and Protection Act and the IOM provided anti-trafficking training to Jamaican officials. The government also worked with the IOM to enhance its ability to detect transnational trafficking and implemented an island-wide passenger entry and exit system.

Protection

The government's efforts to protect victims of trafficking during the last year remained ad hoc, and there is no formal policy for protecting child trafficking victims. Social services provide care to the needy and vulnerable, including children removed from trafficking situations. The government's Child Development Agency, which oversees facilities for at-risk children, and the Bureau of Women's Affairs each maintain a network of shelters that may be used for trafficking victims. The government also helps to negotiate funding for NGOs that support children who are vulnerable to trafficking. The new Child Care Protection Act has a mechanism for the reporting of abuses against children; however, this Children's Registry has not yet been implemented. Efforts should be increased to ensure that the legislation is used forcefully to protect children who are being sexually exploited in the country.

Prevention

The Child Development Agency, created in 2004 as an executive agency, and the Bureau of Women's Affairs are actively involved to promote the rights of women and children in the country, though neither has specific anti-trafficking prevention programs. In general, government officials recognize that children in poverty are vulnerable to trafficking and have expressed a commitment to do more, but government commitment is hampered by resource constraints and a lack of political will. A campaign was carried out to inform the public on the new Child Care and Protection Act, which included provisions to protect trafficking victims and prosecute offenders.

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