Jamaican government divulges major anti-human trafficking measures

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The government of Jamaica is implementing steps to intensify its anti-human trafficking efforts through the development of a Human Trafficking Survivors’ Handbook and Human Trafficking e-Learning platform.

The tools were produced by the Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons (ONRTIP) and the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) in partnership with the British High Commission in Jamaica.

They were officially launched during a ceremony on Wednesday.

The handbook provides information on the rights of persons affected by human trafficking and also provides a directory of providers of relevant and easily accessible information on services available here to address the varying needs of victims.

The e-Learning platform is a training resource for anti-trafficking stakeholders, which is designed to build their capacities.

It cites local examples of practical manifestations of human trafficking, and examines the indicators as well as case studies, among other engagements.

The platform will initially be hosted on the website of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), whose personnel will be among the first to access the training.

Other anti-trafficking stakeholders will, over time, also be afforded access to the training platform.

National Security Minister, Dr. Horace Chang, who spoke at the launch, said the Government continues to coordinate national activities on the recommendations of ONRTIP to ensure that Jamaica has a robust anti-human trafficking programme, as well as support and implement strategies to tackle the crime.

Pointing out that anti-human trafficking is the second most lucrative organised criminal activity internationally, Dr. Chang said Jamaica was awarded a Tier Two ranking on the U.S. Department of State’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report – the same position as last year.

He argued that while this report is a valuable measure of activity in this area, critical recommendations outlined in the Annual Report of the Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons should also be implemented.

The National Security Minister said this is critical to providing a holistic and comprehensive response to human trafficking in the local context. 

The recommendations were tabled in the Houses of Parliament in December 2018.

“We cannot only be guided by what our external partners and assessors tell us, which is a valuable measure of activity in this area. It is my view that a robust effort requires us to bear in mind what the United States may say in its report, but equally important, is that we must pay attention and work closely with the recommendations that have emanated from the Office of the National Rapporteur.”

This, he further said, “reflects our own commitment; this is a national office directed by nationals and, therefore, is reflecting local thinking and local challenges”.

ONRTIP has been directed to conduct an internal country assessment of the various initiatives and anti-human trafficking programmes that Jamaica has embarked on, and make recommendations for improvements in a bid to enhance the country’s profile.

National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, ONRTIP, Diahann Gordon Harrison, said the e-Learning platform and handbook will be pivotal as the Government takes steps to eliminate human trafficking.

“In our joint deliberations, we formed the view that effective preventative measures must be a critical part of any robust anti-human trafficking system as you can prevent a crime from occurring when you are well placed in beating the problem,” she pointed out.

Regional Manager for the Home Office for Immigration Enforcement for the Americas Region at the British High Commission, Richard Cronie, said the division welcomed the opportunity to partner with ONRTIP on the project which yielded a product “with the aim of raising awareness for frontline offenders and those who are in the position to tackle human trafficking”.

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