Jamaica has not improved its ranking on the 2023 Global Trafficking in Persons Report, published by the US Department of State.

The country remains at tier 2 of the ranks, indicating that it does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Robian Williams reports:

According to the report, the government has demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its anti-trafficking capacity.

It says the efforts included investigating, prosecuting and convicting more traffickers.

It also highlighted the national referral mechanism for child victims, expanded training for criminal justice officials and the opening of three child-friendly spaces for interviewing and providing immediate assistance to child victims.

But despite these improvements, the report explained that the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.

It says authorities did not identify any adult victims.

It also says authorities detained and arrested children for gang-related criminal activity without screening for indicators of trafficking.

This, despite continued reports of gangs compelling some children to commit unlawful acts.

It also presented a report from the Office of the Children’s Advocate, stating systemic failures and individual misconduct within Jamaica’s child protection system, that has left children and young adults in state care at risk of re-victimization

In light of this, the Global Trafficking in Persons Report outlined several recommendations to improve the island’s rank on the trafficking scale.

These include fully implementing screening tools, to increase proactive identification and referral of potential trafficking victims among vulnerable groups and increasing efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers.

It also suggests an amendment to the anti-trafficking laws to prescribe harsher penalties for sex trafficking.