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Jamaica improves in ranking in Human Trafficking

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica has secured Tier 2 ranking in the 7th Annual Trafficking in Persons Report produced by the United States’ State Department.

The latest assessment is an improvement on the Tier 2 Watch List ranking, and is a testament to the significant effort being made by the country to meet the international standards that are required to effectively combat human trafficking.

The report covers the period March 1, 2006 to February 28, 2007.

Jamaica’s improved rating is attributable to several key factors, including the enactment of comprehensive legislation and the increase in the number of cases brought before the courts.

The US Government also acknowledged the turnaround in the attitude towards human trafficking activities by government officials and their willingness to address this matter in public forum. The increase in the number of and targeted approach to anti-human trafficking public education and training programs were also considered by the US State Department and made an impact in the final ranking for its 2007 Report.

The elevation to Tier 2 status carried with it two benefits which were not available under the previous rating. Firstly, Jamaica is no longer required to submit interim reports, and secondly, the country has more open access to the various developmental programs offered by the United States of America.

The Government of Jamaica considers the improved Tier 2 status to be a welcome recognition by the international community in general and the United States Government in particular, of the intense efforts being undertaken by the government to tackle this growing problem affecting the entire international community and specifically the Caribbean.

We will maintain this commitment through the National Task Force Against Trafficking In Persons to ensure the safety and security of Jamaicans as well as visitors who may be at risk from the activities of traffickers.

The Task Force will retain its mandate to implement all the measures necessary, within the limits of its resources to bring about further improvement in the combat against human trafficking within the borders of Jamaica.

It must be emphasized that Jamaica’s improved ranking in anti-human trafficking efforts resulted from the support and co-operation of its international partners as well as the more responsible tone adopted by our local media in their coverage of the subject, including the public sensitization campaign put on by the Task Force, as well as those cases before our courts.

Members of the public, including our youth must also be commended for the interest shown to date in gaining knowledge of human trafficking; and as such the Government is urging all sectors of the society to maintain this interest and give active support to all pertinent educational material, as it can only augur well for the detection, prevention and deterring of human trafficking anywhere in the island.

Jamaica is only one of three countries in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to have Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in place, the others being Guyana and Belize.

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