JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are being better equipped to deal with cases of human trafficking.
  • In addition to equipping local police personnel, DSP Berry informed that over 10,000 representatives from other jurisdictions have been trained.
  • The country secured two convictions over the reporting period for forced labour and sex trafficking and received recognition for the charges proffered against a public official.

Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are being better equipped to deal with cases of human trafficking.

Head of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Carl Berry, told JIS News that the human trafficking curriculum at the National Police College of Jamaica has been improved with more informed trainers.

“We are mindful that not all persons can investigate this type of crime, so we have cultured some officers for the advanced training,” he informed.

DSP Berry said that there is also a trafficking in persons (TIP) training manual for members of the force, which was developed through collaboration with the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA); Jamaica Defence Force (JDF); Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA); Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR); and other stakeholders.

Trafficking in persons is defined as the trade of humans, most commonly for forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation by traffickers or other persons.

A total of 563 members of the police force have been equipped in combatting TIP, with approximately 128 trained during 2015/16.

DSP Berry told JIS News that the JCF started its anti-human trafficking efforts in 2005. He noted that over the years, the training and experience have improved and documents created to give full guidance to the police on how to successfully investigate a case.

In addition to equipping local police personnel, DSP Berry informed that over 10,000 representatives from other jurisdictions have been trained.

“We are equally providing training for our counterparts. We have been in the United States and some Caribbean countries. In order to fight human trafficking you cannot do it from the confines of your space,” he pointed out.

DSP Berry noted that trafficking in persons is transnational organised crime, which manifests itself in several places and in different ways, and so the unit has been educating various stakeholders to assist in the fight against the scourge.

“We will be using sensitisation and education as a means to get the public to support us. We know that human trafficking is never self-reported so we intend to get persons to understand and identify the crime so that when they see it they are better able to report it,” he said.

DSP Berry is encouraging the public to call 1-888-PROTECT (776-8328) to report victims under the age of 18 or 311 for older victims, the TIP Unit at 967-1389 or email tip.ocid@jcf.gov.jm

Since 2016, JCF has launched Operation Uplift aimed at strengthening the fight against TIP.

Jamaica has been upgraded to Tier 2 from the Tier 2 Watch List in the United States (US) Department of State 2016 TIP report.

The US State Department, in its report, noted the Government’s increased efforts to investigate, prosecute and convict traffickers.

The country secured two convictions over the reporting period for forced labour and sex trafficking and received recognition for the charges proffered against a public official.

Also acknowledged was Jamaica’s efforts to protect human-trafficking victims. The TIP shelter continues to be in operation, offering care and protection to victims.