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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) is cautioning students to be wary of traffickers, as they prey on children due to their level of dependence on adults.
  • DSP Carl Berry said that adults teach children to believe them and as a result, children are very trusting of them.
  • Traffickers also need children for forced sexual exploitation, labour, organ removal, among many other illegal and lewd acts.

As the nation observed Children’s Day, the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) is cautioning students to be wary of traffickers, as they prey on children due to their level of dependence on adults.

Speaking on Friday, May 16, at a seminar held at the Melrose Infant, Primary and Junior High School, which focused on Trafficking in persons, Head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit, Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Carl Berry, said that adults teach children to believe them and as a result, children are very trusting of them.

“Traffickers also target children between the ages of 12 and 17 because they regard them as having ‘lower mileage’ and they have a longer ‘shelf-life’, so they can stay longer in trade and make more money from them. This is where transnational organized criminals are going,” DSP Berry explained.

He said that traffickers also need children for forced sexual exploitation, labour, organ removal, among many other illegal and lewd acts.

Also speaking at the forum was Chairman of the NATFATIP, Carol Palmer, who said that this type of enslavement is mostly done to girls. “Approximately 70 per cent are girls and 30 per cent are boys. Some family members are selling their children. A child is priceless. The money that families receive in exchange for their children will finish, but the conscience will be there to send them to their grave,” Mrs. Palmer said.

Principal of the school, Jennifer Lee, was pleased with the level of exposure that her students received, especially on Children’s Day.

“We see or hear about so many instances of child abuse. We really want to address it by equipping our students with the knowledge, so they can be a part of the solution. Only students from the Junior High Department were at the presentation, and my Guidance Counsellors will pass on the information to the other students and they will be doing projects on the topic,” she told JIS News.

Mrs. Lee is also pleased with the support from parents and guardians, as several of them participated in the session.

“Our parents are good; they come on different occasions to support their children and the school. Those who participated will, along with their children, take back the messages to their community, and spread the word about the ills of human trafficking,” the Principal added.

Parent, Miriam Hamilton, said that she attended the session mainly because she has a daughter within the age range of children being targeted by traffickers and she wanted to be more informed on the subject.

“I am taking home from this session more love for my children and lessons to make them street smart. I also intend to share the message with residents in my community,” she said.

The forum was executed by NATFATIP, in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston and the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR).

“We serve children and given that human trafficking is a growing problem which affects them, we saw it necessary to partner with NATFATIP to execute this seminar,” Director of Public Relations at the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston, Pam Lowe, told JIS News.