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The National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) has embarked on a public education campaign, which is geared at sensitizing Jamaicans about illegal trafficking in persons.
A human trafficking educational forum was held in Ocho Rios, St. Ann on Thursday, October 19 at the St. John’s Anglican Church Hall, where a number of residents, including members of the business community and service organisations turned out to access valuable information.
The forum, which sought to bring about an increased awareness of human trafficking in the tourism sector, was held under the theme, ‘Be Slick Don’t Get Tricked’.
“One of the most insidious crimes plaguing the sector globally is that of sexual exploitation of our children in tourism,” Minister of Tourism, Entertainment and Culture, Aloun Assamba said in her address. She informed that Jamaica would actively participate in the Third Annual Summit of the World Tourism Forum for Peace and Sustainable Development, particularly with regard to the work of NATFATIP, in protecting children against sexual exploitation. The Summit will take place in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, from November 29 to December 2.
“We have to change the anti-informant culture and all become ‘whistle blowers’,” she said, encouraging persons to speak out and become activists in eradicating human trafficking. “Trafficking in persons is much bigger than mere matters of personal sensitivity. It affects us all and we should realize and accept that we have a vested interest in its eradication,” the Minister said.Pointing out that human trafficking was not just a problem in Jamaica or the wider Caribbean, Minister Assamaba said that this was a worldwide issue that was now seen as the third most productive illicit market.
“It is not just an issue for the police but it is a global issue and the inclusion of civil society in the fight is a key factor. You are the people on the ground and so you are very important and as a nation we have a responsibility to seek and access third party support to achieve a more effective response to trafficking in persons,” she said.
Mrs. Assamba commended the work of NATFATIP and urged citizens to “make a mental adjustment” and join the rest of the world in the fight against human trafficking.
The National Task Force Against Human Trafficking in Persons comprises senior representatives from several ministries and non-governmental organizations and has the mandate to develop policies and implement public education to prevent human trafficking within Jamaica as well as any cross border activity.