Manager of the Trafficking in Persons Secretariat, Chenee Russell, says Jamaica continues to make great strides in curbing trafficking in Jamaica.
According to her, the country continues to increase its efforts to raise awareness through the development of robust trafficking in person systems.
Speaking at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s ‘Labour Department and You’ road show in St. James recently, Ms. Russell said the Government continues to strengthen the legislative framework to tackle the crime in Jamaica.
She noted that since the passing of the Trafficking in Persons Act in 2007, over 500 raids have been conducted, three prostitution rings disrupted and 86 victims rescued from trafficking in Jamaica by the Trafficking in Persons Vice Squad of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
“The legislative framework continues to be strengthened through amendments to the Trafficking in Persons Prevention, Suppression and Punishment Act. We would have amended the Act in 2013 and, more recently, 2018. One of those amendments is to allow trial by judge alone, as previously we would have had to have a jury to try a trafficking case,” Ms. Russell said.
“Our Act also allows for in-camera hearings, and if you are a child and you are a part of that hearing, you do not have to come to court. So, it allows for video evidence to be given,” she added.
Ms. Russell said the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons continues to take a zero-tolerance approach to the scourge of human trafficking, and urged students and teachers present at the road show to be vigilant.
“We also developed a Trafficking in Persons Curriculum in secondary schools, in 2015, more specifically for grades seven to nine,” she noted.
The two-day road show in St. James addressed issues related to human trafficking, efforts to eliminate child labour, and child protection and family services.
The final show will be held in St. Thomas on February 27 and 28.