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National Legislation

The Government of Jamaica (GoJ) has legislated the TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS (PREVENTION, SUPPRESSION AND PUNISHMENT) ACT, 2007 to help identify, sanction and prevent the crime of trafficking in persons; and assist and protect persons vulnerable to human trafficking and rescued victims.

Also, the enactment of other pieces of legislation helps to prosecute trafficking offences. These legislations include:

Child Pornography Act, 2009

Public Policies and National Programs

The National Task Force was established by the Government of Jamaica in 2005, with the mandate of enhancing the government’s national capacity to address trafficking in persons through coordinating and monitoring all anti-trafficking activities. Its core emphases are:

The Committee also comprises three (3) Sub-Committees (Prevention/ Public Education, Protection and Prosecution) to strategically drive the work to be undertaken.

Other initiatives/programmes implemented to address trafficking in persons:

  1. The establishment of various service care providers such as the Victim Support Unit, the Child Development Agency and the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse and the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Trafficking in Persons Unit , are designed for the protection and care (with focus on the three “Rs”: Rescue, Removal and Reintegration) for potential or rescued victims. In addition, the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Trafficking in Persons Unit is mandated to carry out raids at nightclubs and hot spots to identify any potential victims.
  2. The institution of a Special Prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to handle all trafficking in persons cases (the Special Prosecutor is a member of the Task Force and heads the Prosecution Sub-Committee);
  3. The development and implementation of the three-year strategic National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons (2012-2016);
  4. The identification and refurbishing of a dedicated GoJ-owned shelter for victims of human trafficking;
  5. The Task Force through the help of its stakeholders along with the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) has developed TIP indicators, protocols and referral mechanisms for agencies involved in the identification, counselling and protective care of rescued or potential victims.
  6. The development of the Guidelines for the Operation of Care Shelters for the Victims of Human Trafficking. These guidelines contain detailed provisions on the physical facilities in which victims are housed, rules and regulations for residents, which prevent the possibility of any interaction with traffickers during criminal investigations and trials. It also includes, in particular, measures for the protection of vulnerable and unaccompanied children and the provision of special psychosocial support for both women and children who participate in trafficking cases.
  7. Implementation of a Rescue Action Plan and Victim Referral System. Through the work of various stakeholders, the victim referral service is strengthened to offer a coordinated response to the victims of trafficking. Services include:
    1. medical services
    2. legal aid services
    3. counseling and emotional support services e.g. the Victim Support Unit
    4. welfare services
    5. technical services which assist in the provision of documents lost
    6. witness protection services
    7. liaison with embassies which assist by providing verification of nationality, interpreters and medical services in Special circumstances
    8. Repatriation of victims of trafficking to their home countries
  8. The development of the Law Enforcement Manual Guide to Investigation: Practicalities of the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act, 2007. This serves as the formal guide to proactive identification of victims of human trafficking for all relevant government officials, especially law enforcement and immigration personnel.
  9. The GoJ through the various ministries, departments and agencies with the mandate to address issues involving children, have developed a number of national policies and action plans to prevent and combat abuse and exploitation against children including trafficking in persons victims. These include:
    1. The National Framework of Action for Children;
    2. National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence;
    3. National Plan of Action for Child Justice;
    4. National Policy for Gender Equality;
    5. National Plan of Action to End Child Labour; and
    6. Tackling Child Labour through Education.
  10. The NATFATIP through the Public Education Sub-Committee have launched varied public education campaigns and strategies to help the general public especially students to identify trafficked victims. The campaigns and strategies included a Public Library Series; wide dissemination of TIP-related information through the media, educational material, public service announcements; sensitization of the corporate and community sectors such as the hotels and travel agencies; public forums and outreach projects for parents, teachers and guidance counselors.
  11. Extensive and continuous training of front line workers such as immigration officers, judges, prosecutors, police officers, health care workers, hot line operators and other civil service personnel have been sensitized and trained to help with the identification of trafficked victims.  Notably, the 811 toll free hotline has been designated as the TIP Hotline, and operators at the National Intelligence Bureau, JCF and the Office of the Children’s Registry have been recently trained to handle TIP-related calls.
  12. Extensive training of the JCF TIP Unit to better assist the investigators in the identification, rescue, preparation of arrest warrants, seizure of perpetrator’s assets, gathering of evidence and surveillance.
  13. Ongoing sensitization of judges and prosecutors. The technical strengthening of this target group is of vital importance because the overall aim is to secure a conviction against those responsible within the organized criminal network of trafficking; this will include the entire criminal net of masterminds, facilitators and mediators etc. In addition to these trainings, a number of prosecutors have had the opportunity to travel oversees to receive comprehensive and  best practices training to better equip them with the knowledge and expertise to undertake TIP cases in Jamaica.
  14. There are various NGOs represented on the Task Force, such as Woman Inc. and People’s Action for Community Transformation. The NGOs and victim service agencies assist with the protection and care of victims before and during the trial proceedings. They also provide shelter-care services for victims which include the provision of meals, clothing and other necessities; the psychological, medical and physical wellbeing of victims; reintegration, and assist with the repatriation process.

Immigration Regulations

  1. The immigration regulations put in place by the GoJ for the identification of victims of trafficking in persons is stipulated in the Trafficking in Persons Act, 2007 in Section 13: With regards to foreign nationals who wish to live and work in Jamaica, the Work Permit Review Committee was established to monitor the issuance of work permits and, in relation to applications for permits by exotic dancers, to ensure that the process is carried in such a manner as to minimize the likelihood of persons being trafficked.