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Story Highlights

  • Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Major General Stewart Saunders, has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to safeguarding Jamaica against human trafficking.
  • The Permanent Secretary was speaking at the opening of a border control training seminar, hosted by the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons, at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, on Friday, August 28.
  • Major General Saunders said the seminar’s staging was indicative of the administration’s ongoing work to safeguard Jamaica’s citizens and other nationals, deemed vulnerable to human trafficking.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Major General Stewart Saunders, has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to safeguarding Jamaica against human trafficking.

“The Government of Jamaica is fully cognizant of its obligations locally and internationally to do the utmost to combat human trafficking on all fronts,” he assures.

The Permanent Secretary was speaking at the opening of a border control training seminar, hosted by the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons, at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, on Friday, August 28.

Major General Saunders said the seminar’s staging was indicative of the administration’s ongoing work to safeguard Jamaica’s citizens and other nationals, deemed vulnerable to human trafficking, as well as apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of this heinous crime.

Pivotal to this focus, he added, is the training of highly skilled frontline workers and responders, who are able to readily detect and handle incidence of human trafficking.

“It (seminar) also represents an expansion of a number of critical, strategic imperatives to be undertaken to better equip our frontline workers and first responders with the necessary knowledge and skills to more effectively and efficiently identify and assist victims of human trafficking,” Major General Saunders further stated.

Taskforce Chair, Carol Palmer told the participants that the onus is on them, as protectors of the nation’s borders, to remain alert and prevent human traffickers from carrying out their activities in Jamaica.

“You are the ones who will assist in ensuring that the crime coming from off our shores doesn’t get into Jamaica. There are lots of persons who are determined…to find safe havens and it is you who must do your part, 100 per cent, to ensure that you keep them (out of the country),” she said.

In noting that human traffickers often resort to deception to avoid detection, Ms. Palmer said the seminar was intended to assist in sharpening the participants’ skills to “detect, even in the slightest, something that is not so right.”

“It is…this training that will help you to get behind that farce that they set up to trick us,” the Chair said.

Ms. Palmer further encouraged them to be fearless in the face of this serious crime which she noted is very “intimidating”.

“Some persons would rather just let it go than bring it to attention. You are not only bringing it to attention… you have the powers to do the investigation and to deal with the crime,” she added.

The seminar’s participants included representatives from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard; immigration officers and members of the Investigation and Surveillance Unit, Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA); customs officers, Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA); and representatives of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit, Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch.

The session served to sensitize and train participants on how to adequately and effectively identify and respond to trafficking in person cases, thereby triggering the necessary investigative and victim services protocols.

Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery involving the transfer of persons by means of force or coercion, and usually involves payments or benefits to persons facilitating it.