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  • As the nation prepares to mark World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is calling on the public to become more knowledgeable about human trafficking to help in safeguarding vulnerable persons against becoming victims of the crime. 
  • Sub-Officer in charge of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Vice Squad, Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigations Branch (CTOC), Detective Inspector Kemisha Gordon, said that “one of the challenges that we face in conducting investigations is the lack of awareness of persons in being able to determine what human trafficking is”.  
  • “Certainly, that is not surprising, because the nature of human trafficking is that it continues to evolve, and it is not something that is easily grasped. Persons tend to believe that certain activities are acceptable and because of this, they do not report. Persons tend to believe that human trafficking must involve transportation… persons, because they don’t know what it is, will not report because they do not identify themselves or a situation as being trafficking,” she pointed out.    

As the nation prepares to mark World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is calling on the public to become more knowledgeable about human trafficking to help in safeguarding vulnerable persons against becoming victims of the crime. 

Sub-Officer in charge of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Vice Squad, Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigations Branch (CTOC), Detective Inspector Kemisha Gordon, said that “one of the challenges that we face in conducting investigations is the lack of awareness of persons in being able to determine what human trafficking is”.  

“Certainly, that is not surprising, because the nature of human trafficking is that it continues to evolve, and it is not something that is easily grasped. Persons tend to believe that certain activities are acceptable and because of this, they do not report. Persons tend to believe that human trafficking must involve transportation… persons, because they don’t know what it is, will not report because they do not identify themselves or a situation as being trafficking,” she pointed out.   

Detective Inspector Gordon was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank. 

The United Nations defines human trafficking as the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”. 

There are three common types of human trafficking – sex trafficking, forced labor, and debt bondage. 

Victims are forced into activities such as domestic and agricultural work, manufacturing, entertainment, hospitality and restaurants, the commercial sex industry, among other areas. 

Detective Inspector Gordon noted that witnesses often turn a blind eye because they are not aware that such activities can and should be reported to the relevant authorities so that vulnerable persons, especially the nation’s children, can be helped and protected. 

She called on parents and guardians to educate their children about the different types of trafficking because children are oftentimes preyed upon by traffickers.  

“It is our belief that children need to know about human trafficking, so in our effort to prevent, we seek to get them in the know as soon as possible,” she said.   

She noted that raising awareness is important, as the trafficker “does not have a particular look”. 

“A trafficker is not a particular sex; it’s not male or female. Both males and females are traffickers… . I want to ensure that it is understood that a trafficker does not have a face, does not have a look, does not have a particular way of dress, as among the convictions we are seeing an array of different profiles of persons who have been convicted of trafficking,” she pointed out.  

“At one point, we had a number of individuals who were exposed to labour exploitation, but in the past few years, that has not been the focus of traffickers,” she added. 

She also noted that traffickers have taken to the Internet in recent years, and often communicate with potential victims online. 

For World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the Ministry of National Security will be hosting a week of activities under the global theme ‘Victims’ Voices Lead the Way’, starting on Sunday, July 25 with a church service.    

There will also be sensitisation sessions, radio and television interviews, concluding with a virtual town hall on July 30 to mark the day.   

The virtual town hall will be streamed on the Ministry’s social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube) from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.   

 

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