Last Updated: Friday, 28 November 2014, 15:42 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jamaica

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 5 June 2006
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Jamaica, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d89349.html [accessed 28 November 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 2 Watch List)

Jamaica is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and labor. Information from international organizations and embassies working in Jamaica suggests that women from the Dominican Republic and Eastern Europe are trafficked to Jamaica for sexual exploitation. Women and children are also internally trafficked from rural to urban and tourist areas for sexual exploitation. In a 2005 exploratory assessment, IOM stated that trafficking is occurring in the country, primarily for sexual exploitation. The report also states there may be trafficking for domestic servitude and forced labor.

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. Although Jamaica demonstrated some initial progress in combating trafficking shortly after the last Report, Jamaica is placed on Tier 2 Watch List because the determination that it is making significant efforts is based in part on its commitments to take additional future steps over the coming year. Over the past year, the Jamaican Government made modest efforts to address trafficking in the country after being placed in Tier 3 in the 2005 Report. There has been greater public debate, led by the government, on trafficking issues, resulting in a significant increase in public awareness of the dangers of trafficking. The government also launched a public awareness campaign, created an inter-agency task force to coordinate anti-trafficking matters, and appointed police officers to handle trafficking-related investigations. The government has committed to advancing these initiatives over the coming year. However, very few investigations have led to prosecutions. The government should increase law enforcement efforts and take strong action against corruption that may impede progress in this area.

Prosecution

The Government of Jamaica increased efforts to investigate trafficking crimes over the past year, resulting in limited progress. Jamaica has specific laws against trafficking in children, such as the "Child Care and Protection Act of 2004," but no laws that specifically address trafficking of adults. Related criminal statutes, however, may be used to prosecute individuals for trafficking, including the "Offenses Against the Person Act," which prohibits certain aspects of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. During the reporting period, the government created a police unit, staffed by six officers in the Jamaica Constabulary Force to enforce Jamaica's anti-trafficking and related laws. To date, there have been a number of raids and arrests, but no convictions under the Child Care and Protection Act. There have been some related convictions under other laws, including the Spirit Licensing Act and also some reported immigration code violations. There are at least six cases currently under investigation. The government also temporarily suspended work permits for foreign exotic dancers, some of whom are victims of trafficking. The Ministry of Labor is currently working on procedures to monitor individuals granted an exotic dancer permit, to ensure they are not being abused. However, despite some progress on law enforcement, official corruption remains endemic. Law enforcement efforts are also hampered by a lack of resources, personnel, and trafficking awareness.

Protection

The government's efforts to protect trafficking victims remained inadequate, affected in part by resource constraints. Child trafficking victims may be referred to shelters operating throughout the island. However, there are no shelters specifically for adult trafficking victims. Nevertheless, the government has occasionally placed adult trafficking victims in hotels and other temporary facilities. Overall victim protection efforts are ad hoc and there is no formalized referral system for victims once they are identified. Most foreign trafficking victims, when arrested for immigration offenses, are not identified as victims and are sometimes punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked. They are not provided with legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution.

Prevention

The government continued modest prevention efforts. In August 2005, the government's anti-trafficking task force launched a year-long awareness and education campaign. High-level officials, including the Minister of National Security, attended the launch of the campaign. The government is also seeking to award a project to an organization to provide a more concrete assessment of the trafficking problem on the island. There have been a number of training sessions and sensitivity workshops for police and community representatives related to trafficking in persons.

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