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The United States and Jamaican government officials complete talks concerning child trafficking

Final United States and Jamaica annual bilateral dialogue about the Child Protection Compact Partnership (CPC) is promising

The United States and Jamaican government officials, along with implementing partners, the International Organization for Migration and Warnath Group, convened for the final bilateral dialogue under the United States-Jamaica Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership, a jointly developed plan signed by both governments in May 2018. The dialogue focused on shared accomplishments, challenges, and how to sustain progress toward the objectives of the CPC Partnership.

The dialogue served to reflect on accomplishments over the last five years as well as the achievements and challenges that government stakeholders and implementing partners faced in the last year towards meeting the CPC Partnership’s objectives of strengthening the Jamaican government’s efforts to effectively investigate, prosecute, and convict child traffickers, identify and provide comprehensive trauma-informed care for child victims of these crimes, and prevent child trafficking in all its forms.

Participants also discussed sustainability plans as the CPC Partnership comes to an end. To date, the U.S. government has invested $6.7 million in foreign assistance to implement this plan, while relevant Jamaican ministries, departments, and agencies have invested staff resources, made in-kind contributions, and provided the operating budget toward the goals and objectives of the CPC Partnership.

Participants included U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica N. Nick Perry, Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Cindy Dyer, and Jamaican Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security and Chair of the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) Alison Stone Roofe.

According to Compassion International, human trafficking exists in every country, and the cases are not isolated incidents.

  • 199,0003 human trafficking-related crimes occur in the United States each year.

  • $150 billion4 are annually generated by forced labor worldwide.

  • .04%5 of human trafficking cases are reported to the proper authorities.

  • 24.9 million6 people are trapped in forced labor conditions worldwide at any given time.

  • 34%1 of human trafficking cases involve children.

Sex trafficking of Jamaican women and children, including boys, reportedly occurs on streets and in nightclubs, bars, massage parlors, hotels, and private homes, including in resort towns. Local observers believe sex trafficking operations have become more clandestine as a result of the pandemic. Traffickers increasingly use social media platforms and false job offers to recruit victims; local experts report the pandemic has accelerated this trend, as traffickers have adapted by seeking methods to recruit individuals, especially children, in their own homes.

Communities vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labor include young women and children from poor households, child victims of sexual abuse, LGBTQI+ youth experiencing homelessness, residents of Jamaica’s poverty-stricken areas effectively controlled by criminal “dons,” migrant workers, and workers in the informal sector, particularly on family farms and in markets and shops. Traffickers subject children and adults to forced begging and women and children to domestic servitude.

In addition to the opening of multiple child friendly spaces, supporting the creation and institutionalizing of a National Referral Mechanism, new handbooks, trainings, and learning for multi-disciplinary staff, there is still work to be completed over the final months by implementing partners. The Warnath Group will continue to work closely with Jamaican government stakeholders as additional trainings and the opening of more child friendly spaces are still to be completed, with the goal to strengthen victim and survivor-centered law enforcement efforts and provide support to child victims of trafficking. Additionally, the International Organization for Migration is concluding a nationwide child trafficking prevalence study that will inform government strategies and target support to vulnerable children across Jamaica.

Businesses that bankroll human trafficking also share several characteristics or tell-tale signs, such as:

  • Frequent outbound wire transfers.

  • Unusual payroll expenditures.

  • Similar business fronts (e.g. travel agencies, international matchmaking services, modeling, babysitting services, etc.).

  • Leasing or driving of luxury vehicles.

  • Spending large amounts of cash or completing large transactions with only cash.

Ambassador Dyer congratulated the new Permanent Secretary Alison Stone Roofe and expressed gratitude for the Government of Jamaica’s dedication to Partnership and stressed the importance of continuing to build upon the Partnership’s significant accomplishments.

United States Ambassador N. Nick Perry affirmed the United States remains committed to the long-term success of the partnership. He noted that, while the CPC Partnership may be coming to an end, it is important to remember that the initiatives under the partnership have been built with sustainability in mind and that the U.S. government will remain a steadfast ally in combating child trafficking.


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