Advertisement
JIS News

Thirty-two law enforcement officials, including clerks of court, deputy clerks, police officers, immigration officers, social service personnel and persons working in the Witness Protection Programme, participated in a human trafficking detection training programme in Mandeville, from June 10-11.
The programme, made possible through the collaborative effort of the Ministry of Justice Training Institute and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JDF) Reform and Modernization Programme, is part of an islandwide drive to train law enforcement personnel to readily detect signs of human trafficking, and prosecute the perpetrators.
Speaking with JIS News, Facilitator, Joyce Hewett, explained that human trafficking activities are not always easy to detect, and are often mistaken for other things. As a result, she said it is important that law enforcement officials are made sufficiently aware of the gravity of the situation and are able to employ the Three Ps strategy in dealing with the challenges. She also stressed the importance of all law enforcement bodies co-operating with relevant agencies, as they gather criminal intelligence and move to prosecute offenders.
The Three Ps – Prevention, Protection and Prosecution – are touted by the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) as being key factors in arresting the growing incidence of human trafficking. While admitting that investigation into trafficking in persons is expensive and labour intensive, and is dogged by several difficulties, Ms. Hewett urged the participants to “do investigation and gather as much background information as possible, as inadequacies in the collection and dissemination of criminal intelligence will stand in the way of progress.”
She further informed that the chief cause of human trafficking is the great demand that exists, for both the domestic and international markets. While men are also victims of trafficking, recent research has shown that women and children are much more vulnerable, especially as it relates to sexual exploitation.
Detective Sergeant Pat Wallace, a participant attached to the Police Area 3 Headquarters, informed JIS News that he considered the training programme to be relevant at this time, adding that other law enforcement personnel and himself are now better equipped to identify instances of human trafficking, and how to proceed with prosecution, as they have gained a better understanding of the factors involved.
In an attempt to combat the problem of trafficking in persons, the government has put several initiatives in place. Among these is the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act, passed on December 5, 2006. The Child Care and Protection Act, passed in 2004, which also makes provision for the establishment of an Office of Children’s Advocate, prohibits the sale or trafficking of children and places restrictions on the emigration and employment of children.
The first leg of training took place in Montego Bay between June 3 and 4. It will continue in St. Ann on June 17 and 18, culminating with the final session in Kingston from June 24 to 25. Certificates of participation are being awarded to all participants in the programme.