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  • National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, has called for a collective national response to stem human trafficking through strong partnerships forged between the Government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
  • He said this is critical in order to empower and support vulnerable communities in developing meaningful strategies aimed at eliminating trafficking in persons.
  • The Minister was addressing the opening ceremony for the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) International Human Trafficking Conference at the Meliá Braco Hotel in Trelawny on Wednesday (July 25).

National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, has called for a collective national response to stem human trafficking through strong partnerships forged between the Government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

He said this is critical in order to empower and support vulnerable communities in developing meaningful strategies aimed at eliminating trafficking in persons.

The Minister was addressing the opening ceremony for the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) International Human Trafficking Conference at the Meliá Braco Hotel in Trelawny on Wednesday (July 25).

Dr. Chang said human trafficking represents a threat to Jamaica’s safety and security, as it often forms part of a larger major organised crime network that exploits victims to finance criminal activity.

“The clandestine nature of this crime demands that every single Jamaican assume responsibility to join the fight to stop traffickers in their tracks. It is impractical to think that a Government-alone response will be effective,” he argued.

Dr. Chang further urged the establishment of more effective and accessible services to victims of human trafficking.

He said these services must be appropriately structured and coordinated across all relevant sectors, including national security, health, education, labour and social security, immigration, the justice system and NGOs.

“There should be no hiding place for traffickers anywhere in the world, and not in Jamaica. They should be vigorously pursued and fearlessly prosecuted,” he said.

The Minister contended that it is an opportune time to secure meaningful partnerships with academia to effectively incorporate scholarships and scientific study to address human trafficking.

Additionally, he said the media must play a pivotal role in exposing and condemning the activity.

Dr. Chang said Jamaica must now develop a partnership framework that builds on existing capacity, capitalises on the expertise of a range of stakeholders and entrenches human capacity development, as well as implement awareness programmes for schools, social workers, investigators and the judiciary.

Against this background, he expressed the hope that deliberations during the conference will springboard the development of a comprehensive anti-trafficking strategy that will be far-reaching and built on the mutually reinforcing pillars of prosecution, protection, prevention and partnership.

“Jamaica’s agenda must call on the expertise of those who have experienced the horrors of this act. We must redouble our efforts at the Government level but also on the ground, in communities where the crime of human trafficking is taking place,” Dr. Chang said.

The two-day NATFATIP International Human Trafficking Conference is being held on July 25 and 26 under the theme ‘From Victim to Survivor: the Hard Road to Recovery’.

The participants are drawn from several countries, including the United States, Canada and Romania, and includes representatives from the European Union Delegation.

Discussions will cover several topics, including ‘Understanding Human Trafficking’; ‘Victimology, Cybercrime and Human Trafficking’; ‘Gender Perspectives in Human Trafficking’; ‘The Vulnerability of Children in Foster Care to Human Trafficking’; and ‘The Role of Higher Education in Challenging Attitudes that Support Trafficking’.