JO - Trafficking in Persons bill for House next week
Trafficking in Persons bill for House next week
BALFORD HENRY, Observer writer
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
THE Government is to table a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) prevention bill in Parliament next week in time for this month's interim assessment of the country's current ranking by the United States Congress.
Minister of information and development Donald Buchanan says that the tabling of the Prevention, Suppression and Punishment of Trafficking in Persons Act 2006 in the House of Representatives next Tuesday forms part of the country's plan of action against the crime, which consists of four main components - prevention, protection, prosecution and policy.
The information was contained in a report Buchanan read to yesterday's post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House. It was the only item addressed by the minister, who said that that while the issue was not the only matter dealt with, "it took up some time within the Cabinet meeting today".
But the minister was unable to answer any questions from the report, stating that he had only received it at the meeting.Asked why he had not invited the minister responsible for human trafficking issues, minister of justice A J Nicholson, to the briefing, Buchanan responded, "You know, that might have been an excellent idea. I will indicate to him that it is important for him to arrange a media briefing from the ministry's point of view".
Jamaica is currently on the US tier two watch list, which means that the country's attempts to deal with trafficking in persons is being watched and assessed by the American Congress as a precursor to a possible upgrading from tier three to tier two.
In 2005, the US ranked Jamaica in tier three, which is the ranking given to governments accused of failing to meet the minimum standards, or who demonstrate significant efforts to curb human trafficking. It also subjects these countries to possible non-humantarian and non-trade sanctions by the US Government.
The ranking was improved to tier two watchlist this year after the Government admitted that the activity was taking place in Jamaica and gave commitments to deal with it.
Buchanan said that, in terms of prosecutions, there were eight specific human trafficking cases in the courts. He said that there are 12 documented convictions resulting in fines totalling $175,000 and four deportations.