JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) has submitted Jamaica’s report to the United States (US) Department of State for the February 15 deadline and is awaiting the results to be released in June.
  • Jamaica’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons report addresses recommendations from the previous report.
  • “I think the only thing we have not achieved from the recommendations made is to have gotten a conviction in any case,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Chairperson for the NATFATIP, Carol Palmer told JIS News.

The National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) has submitted Jamaica’s report to the United States (US) Department of State for the February 15 deadline and is awaiting the results to be released in June.

Jamaica’s 2014 Trafficking in Persons report addresses recommendations from the previous report.

“I think the only thing we have not achieved from the recommendations made is to have gotten a conviction in any case,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice and Chairperson for the NATFATIP, Carol Palmer, told JIS News in an interview.

She explained that the Government of Jamaica cannot guarantee convictions. “We can only seek to take cases through the process…ensure that the investigations are up to an appropriate standard of rigour and that the DPP’s office (which is independent) takes the prosecution through and the rest is up to the process of the court,” Mrs. Palmer said.

The Permanent Secretary noted that the responsibility of the Government diminishes after a case is ready for court and so it cannot influence the justice system. She informed that there are 11 matters in court, eight of which are before the Supreme Court and are ready for trial.

“We have gone to court during this reporting period with three cases for trial, in which two of the accused persons have absconded and are being sought by lawmen. The third is down for trial on March 10,” Mrs. Palmer said.

She pointed out that representatives of the US government were present in the court room during two trials in December, and so had firsthand knowledge of the processes as well as the challenges that the Director of Public Prosecutions face in proceeding with these matters.

The Task Force has also introduced training for Jamaica’s foreign services personnel going into other jurisdictions. This, she explained, is to guard themselves against being accused of domestic servitude, another issue raised by the US government. “So far, we have found no evidence that anybody in the Jamaican foreign services has been involved in domestic servitude,” Mrs. Palmer said.

The Permanent Secretary also noted that Jamaica continues to take care of its victims and has done more than what was recommended in the 2013 report.

“We have provided a curriculum to the Ministry of Education for implementation in schools from grades seven to nine, so that our children can now come out of school knowing what this crime is, and also to educate their parents, people in their community and everyone they come in contact with to insulate themselves from being tricked into this situation,” she said.

Mrs. Palmer explained that a massive public education campaign is underway and the media have provided more support this year than in the last reporting period. She further informed that various public fora are being held in different settings, such as schools and churches.

The Permanent Secretary said Jamaica will continue to work with its Caribbean counterparts and the global landscape in the fight against human trafficking.