Jamaica fails to improve in 2022 Trafficking in Persons report ranking, remains at tier 2
Jamaica has not improved in its ranking on the 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report.
The country remains at tier 2 on the ranking which was released at midday.
The ranking indicates that the government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.
The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Jamaica remained at tier 2.
Efforts made included identifying more victims, including survivors of labor trafficking; and making arrests for the illegal operation of private employment agencies.
Despite these improvements, however, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.
The report noted that convicted traffickers received suspended prison sentences and fines, penalties that were not on par with the severity of their crimes.
Additionally no victim was awarded restitution, among other short comings.
As such, the US Department of State is recommending that Jamaica fully implements the screening tools and the referral mechanism to increase proactive identification and referral of suspected trafficking victims among vulnerable groups, and provide consistent training for officials on implementing these tools.
It says Jamaica must increase efforts to provide more victims, with comprehensive services, including legal, medical, psycho-social, shelter, case management, educational/vocational, and reintegration assistance, for the full length of any legal proceedings.
The country must also increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict traffickers.
A recommendation has also been made for government to amend the anti-trafficking law to prescribe penalties for sex trafficking that are commensurate with penalties for other serious crimes by increasing the available maximum imprisonment term.
Meantime, Jamaica’s National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Diahann Gordon-Harrison, says the country has made some strides in combating human trafficking, despite remaining at tier 2 on the global list.
She says the report shows that Jamaica is consistent in its efforts despite the challenges of the past year.
Mrs. Gordon Harrison notes that with restrictions surrounding Covid-19 now lifted, Jamaica should be in good stead to aim for tier 1 next year.
The National Rapporteur agreed with the 2022 Trafficking report which suggested that there is room for improvement in the provision of services to victims of human trafficking in Jamaica.