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KINGSTON — Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, is reassuring the nation of the Government’s continued commitment to eliminating the problem of human trafficking in the country.

“The Government of Jamaica rejects this dastardly form of criminality and we are prepared to participate in every programme, and be part of every effort to break the back of this problem. The chilling truth is that human trafficking is a crime against humanity,” the Minister said.

He was speaking at the first of a series of workshops,  hosted at the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Staff College, in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, yesterday April 18. The sessions are being held to provide additional training for JCF members in tackling this human rights infringement.

The Minister said that even though Jamaica’s standing has improved from a Tier three to a Tier two ranking in the US Department of State’s Annual Trafficking in Persons Report, the Government would not be satisfied until the country is ranked at the highest level, Tier one.

He said that adequately tackling the problem of trafficking in humans not only required a multi-sectoral, but a multi-national response, given its complex nature.

“Given the multiple and complex forms of human trafficking , Jamaica needs to arm itself with relevant information and anti-trafficking tactics to lower and eventually eradicate this crime,” the Minister asserted.

Senator Nelson  said that despite limited resources, the Government has begun the refurbishment of shelters and provided other supporting mechanisms to assist victims of human trafficking.

The Minister further pointed out that there is a dedicated Trafficking in Persons Unit within the JCF, charged with the investigation of these cases, noting that between September 2010 and March this year, the Unit had rescued 14 victims, seven of whom were females, and these victims also included a minor. They were smuggled from Panama, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, and India.

He said that legislation enacted by the Government, such as the Child Care and Protection Act, the Offences Against the Person Act, the Aliens Act, and the Labour Officers Act are also important in the thrust to address trafficking in persons.

Senator  Nelson said that workshops of this nature are also an important tool in the fight against human trafficking.

He urged the JCF members participating in the workshops to make  use of the training exercise, which should “provide some useful insights to better equip you, our law enforcers, to more adequately deal with issues of this nature.”

The training seminars are being undertaken by the Ministry of National Security in collaboration with the JCF’s National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons and the Justice Training Institute.

 

By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter