JO - Jamaica inching towards tier two human trafficking rankingmust improve on prosecutions and convictions
Jamaica inching towards tier two human trafficking rankingmust improve on prosecutions and convictions
Taneisha DAVIDSON, Observer staff reporter
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Ambassador John Miller, director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, said Jamaica was well on its way to further improving its US State Department rankings in terms of human trafficking.
On Monday the US State Department released a June 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report, which placed Jamaica on its Tier Two Watch List for human trafficking. This is an improvement from the tier three ranking it received last year, which is the lowest ranking given to countries that neither satisfy the minimum standards nor demonstrate a significant effort of compliance.
But yesterday, ambassador Miller, who was speaking to reporters at the US Embassy in Kingston, via live video link from the US, said Jamaica's efforts to curb human trafficking had inched the country closer to a tier two ranking, than a tier three. Nevertheless, he said that despite the progress the country had made, it still had more work ahead.
"I do think Jamaica is closer to a tier two than it is to tier three and I say that because of the efforts that have started this last year. I am talking about the increase in awareness, I am talking about the government's launching of a public awareness campaign and an inter agency task force...," he said.
"However, for Jamaica to move up, that anti-trafficking police unit has to see its work converted into both prosecutions and convictions and the reporting of victims, the protection of victims and working with NGOs to improve," Miller added.
A tier two rating includes countries that do not fully comply with the minimum standards, but were making significant efforts to meet compliance standards.
Jamaica's placement on the tier two watch list means that it requires special scrutiny because of high or significantly increasing number of victims or failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking.
At the same time, Miller noted that the US government plans to provide funding to train Jamaica's police officers to assist with nabbing the human traffickers.
On Monday, information minister Collin Campbell said the government was in the process of drafting specific legislation to deal with human trafficking.
Miller remarked yesterday that the fact that the Jamaican government was making an effort to draft specific legislations was a progressive sign. He, however, suggested that the legislation being developed should take into consideration aspects such as rescuing the victim, reintegration, repatriation, as well prosecution, protection and prevention.
"The repatriation process should be handled in a way that the victim is given a chance to participate in the prosecution process before being repatriated," Miller said, adding that the reintegration process should be tailored in such a way that the victim does not end up back into the hands of the traffickers.