Jamaica News, January 22, 2018
(JIS) – Human Trafficking Fight: Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Carl Berry, says the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit has recorded major successes since its establishment in 2005.
DSP Berry, who heads the Unit, said the body has, to date, rescued 76 victims “without incident.”
He informed that more than 3,000 victims have been interviewed resulting in the conviction of four of 23 suspects, who were brought before the courts for human trafficking and related matters such as rape and facilitating prostitution.
The persons convicted were sentenced to upwards of 30 years imprisonment and ordered to pay up to $2 million in restitution to victims.
“We have other matters that are ready to go (before the courts)” of which “we are very hopeful about getting convictions,” he added.
DSP Berry was speaking at a public forum jointly hosted by the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) and the United States Embassy in Jamaica, at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters in Mona, St. Andrew on Friday (January 19).
Human Trafficking Fight: Highlighting other gains, he informed that three prostitution rings were displaced, including one on the Port Henderson Road, better known as ‘Back Road’ in Portmore, St. Catherine and three establishments that were responsible for hosting, housing and allowing prostitution, were permanently closed.
Additionally, he said that the unit assisted in providing medical, psychological, psychosocial and in a few cases, psychiatric care.
DSP Berry said the JCF is committed to going after traffickers.
“We are not sitting on our laurels; the journey continues. We continue to, as a police force, provide security even beyond convictions. As an organisation, the JCF commits to its partners and stakeholders to be leaders in the war against human trafficking. We commit further that we will endeavour to pursue human traffickers wherever they reside,” he assured.
The forum concluded a week-long series of regional sessions and school tours from January 16 to 19 under the theme: ‘Human Trafficking is Real…Look Beneath the Surface.’
The activities were aimed at heightening awareness and understanding, particularly among students and young people, about human trafficking.
NATFATIP is a multi-agency body, comprising representatives from Ministries, Departments and Agencies and non-governmental organisations, which support the Government’s policy and action in combating human trafficking in Jamaica.
Contributed by Dr Colin O Jarrett