The Government is working with relevant stakeholders to develop a shared database to target human traffickers.
Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Zavia Mayne, said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate the process has been signed among the membership of the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP).
It will provide centralised access to data to ensure a more comprehensive, sustained, and effective system in combatting trafficking in persons.
He was speaking at an event dubbed ‘Trafficking Conversations’, on July 29 at the Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons in Kingston.
The function was held as part of activities in observance of Trafficking in Persons Week, from July 24 to 30.
The NATFATIP is comprised of approximately 24 entities, ministries, departments and agencies of government, plus non-governmental organisations, all of which generate and receive data from various sources at various times.
This arrangement, Mr. Mayne said, is suboptimal as it leads to data duplication, outdated information, inaccuracies and low-quality data input and output.
“The importance and sensitivity of data on the crime of human trafficking and our anti-trafficking operations means that the effectiveness of those operations depends on the data being accurate and consistent,” he noted.
He said that even as the Government’s capabilities to respond to trafficking cases improve, there is still the matter of intelligence-sharing.
“The lack of centralised access to data relevant to human-trafficking activities in Jamaica constitutes a vulnerability in the national security architecture that criminals such as human traffickers may exploit,” he pointed out.
“This is why data synchronisation is a major pillar in our fight against trafficking in persons. It is one of the most valuable tools to manage data effectively to optimise the responses of State agencies to incidents of trafficking,” the State Minister added.
He said that the shared database must, therefore, provide real time up-to-date information for all relevant agencies to act effectively and efficiently.
“In the arena of technology, there is an ongoing arms race between our State agencies and the traffickers, and winning in that arena requires matching the art and science of updating and collating relevant data in real time,” he pointed out.
Mr. Mayne said with the signing of the MOU, it now falls on the relevant agencies to see the process through.
“If we can all get on the same page regarding standards and best practices and share important intelligence and resources… we can do better in preventing this crime,” he noted.
“Sharing the data from those reports widely, across our State agencies, will illuminate the problem like never before. Therefore, I wholeheartedly endorse this initiative to synchronise data,” the State Minister added.