JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Intellectual Property Vice Squad has received surveillance equipment, aimed at increasing prosecution of persons involved in human trafficking and reduce dependence on victims for evidence.
  • Mrs. Palmer was speaking at the handing over ceremony on February 26, in Kingston.
  • She said that when the police conduct operations, the equipment will provide the opportunity for covert surveillance and that information can be presented to the court as evidence.

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Intellectual Property Vice Squad has received surveillance equipment, aimed at increasing prosecution of persons involved in human trafficking and reduce dependence on victims for evidence.

“These covert pieces of equipment will improve the evidence that the police will be able to garner and reduce the dependence on victims to cooperate. [Currently]…we are totally dependent on victims to participate in the trial process, to give proper evidence, to appear in court and to give testimony,” Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice and Chairperson, National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), Mrs. Carol Palmer, said.

Mrs. Palmer was speaking at the handing over ceremony on February 26, in Kingston.

She said that when the police conduct operations, the equipment will provide the opportunity for covert surveillance and that information can be presented to the court as evidence.

“The matter of getting a conviction requires being able to provide a completed and thoroughly investigated case to the prosecution. That case has to be brought to the court and be able to convince the court and the jury to be able to have a conviction,” the NATFATIP Chairperson explained.

Mrs. Palmer also highlighted that the police are an integral part of the fight against Trafficking in Persons (TIP). “If they are not on board, the fight is not on,” the Permanent Secretary said.

“As we [NATFATIP] move to implement our action plan, we have to provide the Vice Squad with whatever they need that is not supplied in the general provisions of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. We have to provide them, so that their abilities are not affected by unavailability of equipment,” she added.

Mrs. Palmer also mentioned that the equipment handed over to the Vice Squad is available in other jurisdictions, adding that there are instances where cases have gone to trial in the absence of victims.

Meanwhile, Head of the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID), Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Clifford Chambers, expressed gratitude for the donation from NATFATIP.

“We are happy that the authorities see the need for us to have these devices. This handing over is very symbolic, because it adds value to the investigative apparatus of TIP to effectively capture evidence in TIP related cases that will make the conviction of the perpetrators of these crimes easier,” he said.

The Head of OCID noted that the provision of the equipment is a step in the right direction.

“Although much more is required for us to create the kind of impact that we want, the handing over puts us on a better footing. We trust that whatever else is required will be provided, because we have to keep ahead in the game,” he said.

The OCID continues to concentrate on some of the activities started in 2014, such as operation ‘Swirl’, ‘Push Back’, and operation ‘Fix It’.

These operations target persons involved in the sex trade of minors, persons who visit certain areas and communities for illegal activities involving prostitution and others akin to trafficking in persons.

“We remain active and current and we continue to do our sensitization programme within the JCF and with our external partners,” the Head of OCID said.         

The work of the Task Force is representative of the Government’s efforts against human trafficking. These efforts are also aimed at advancing the GOJ strategic priority of Improved Safety and Security.