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  • The Prosecution Committee of the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), is seeking to further review the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) (Amendment) Act, 2013.
  • “We are looking at it to see if there is anything we have missed. In our last assessment in 2014, we were satisfied that our legislation was adequate for the crime,” she told JIS News.
  • Mrs. Palmer Hamilton explained that if there are aggravating factors, 20 years’ imprisonment at hard labour can be increased to 30 years.

The Prosecution Committee of the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), is seeking to further review the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) (Amendment) Act, 2013.

Chairperson for NATFATIP, Carol Palmer, said review of the current legislation will take into account the UK legislation which was recently enacted – Modern Slavery Act, 2015.

“We are looking at it to see if there is anything we have missed. In our last assessment in 2014, we were satisfied that our legislation was adequate for the crime,” she told JIS News.

The Chairperson also noted that the matter of human smuggling, “which has become an item in the news since the start of 2016, is also being reviewed”.

“It was not on our landscape, but we have been aware of all these boat or sea apparatus that people have been using to get from Asia to Europe and the various incidents that have happened. It is a different crime from TIP, but we need to look to ensure that we cover ourselves in case that becomes an issue in Jamaica,” Mrs. Palmer said.

Meanwhile, Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Lisa Palmer Hamilton, said that since the amendment to the TIP legislation, “it has been observed that it gives the tribunal, in law the judge, a wider means of discretion to impose a suitable sentence, based on the verdict brought in by the jurors”.

 

In the current Act, the judge can give either a fine or a term of imprisonment, which has been increased to 20 years, or both.

Mrs. Palmer Hamilton explained that if there are aggravating factors, 20 years’ imprisonment at hard labour can be increased to 30 years.

The US State Department Human Trafficking 2016 Report noted that the penalties, in the Act, are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.