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Human Trafficking Task Force Pleased With Tier 2 Ranking

Human Trafficking Task Force Pleased With Tier 2 Ranking
Chairperson for the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), Carol Palmer.
(Media Credit: Dave Reid)

KINGSTON (JIS) -- Chairperson for the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP), Carol Palmer, says the improvement in Jamaica’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) ranking, is an acknowledgment of the important steps being made by the country in the fight against the scourge. Jamaica has been upgraded to Tier 2 from the Tier 2 Watch List, in the United States (US) Department of State 2016 TIP report. A Tier 2 ranking means that the country is making important strides in tackling human trafficking and is well on the way to full compliance with international trafficking laws and standards. Mrs. Palmer, who was speaking at a JIS Think Tank on July 5, said it is clear that Jamaica is taking the fight against TIP “very seriously”. “We will not rest back on it (the upgraded ranking), because the objective and goal of the Task Force is to be at a Tier 1 ranking. That is our obligation to the people of Jamaica and anyone who is on our shores at any time,” she declared.

The US State Department, in its report, noted the Government’s increased efforts to investigate, prosecute and convict traffickers.

The country secured two convictions over the reporting period for forced labour and sex trafficking and received recognition for the charges proffered against a public official.

Also acknowledged was Jamaica’s efforts to protect human-trafficking victims. The TIP shelter continues to be in operation, offering care and protection to victims.

The National Anti-trafficking Plan, which is part of prevention strategies employed by the Government to combat human trafficking in all its forms, and is valid through to 2018, added traction to the new ranking.

The NATFATIP Chairperson told JIS News that the upgrading is important as the country was at risk of being placed at Tier 3 if it received another Tier 2 Watch List ranking.

“We did more work this time than in all the years before. For the year under review, up to March 2016, we had two successful convictions and year-to-date, we have had another two involving labour and sex trafficking,” she informed.

Head of the TIP Unit, Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry, noted that the Task Force is aiming for a Tier 1 ranking.

“We are very honoured to know that the prosecutions we secured were named and was one of the reasons given by the US for the upgrade. We know that based on what we have been doing, a better grade is something that we can achieve,” he said.

DSP Berry told JIS News that the unit has been vigorously pursuing traffickers and has ramped up its training of key personnel. A total of 563 members of the police force have been equipped in combating TIP, with approximately 128 trained during the reporting period.

Coast guards, customs and immigration officials, and members of the tourism and Foreign Service sectors also received training and were encouraged to report suspected human-trafficking cases.