Jamaicans urged to be on alert for human trafficking in their communities

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human traffickingKINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday July 30, 2015 – Chairman of the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) Carol Palmer is urging Jamaicans to be on alert for signs of human trafficking and report known or suspected cases to the police.

She made the plea as local authorities say they are working to take the profit out of human trafficking.

“Persons may identify victims by bruises or any other signs of physical abuse. Victims are often not in control of themselves and appear to be under someone else’s control and are unable to move around any location freely,” Palmer told a recent JIS Think Tank.

She said victims often lack identification or immigration documents and live with many persons, usually in a small space.

“They can be found at the massage parlours, bars, escort services, strip and nightclubs, resort and hotel areas, some homes, hair and nail shops, drug sale, restaurants, commercial sex areas, engaged in pornography and forced begging,” she noted.

But Palmer advised against persons dealing with the matter on their own.

She offered tips on how persons can protect themselves against being victims of human trafficking.

“Are you being promised lots of money, a great life and many other tempting gifts? Are you being chosen because you are young, good looking and of a particular gender? Will someone get travel identification and documents for you? Are you being urged to lie? These are the warning signs,” Palmer said.

Meantime, Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Lisa Palmer-Hamilton says authorities are working to ensure human traffickers don’t benefit from their crime.

That is being made possible through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) which provides for the investigation, identification and recovery of assets garnered through criminal activity.

Palmer-Hamilton said once a person is convicted, an application can be made under the Act for them to forfeit their assets.

After drug dealing, trafficking in persons ties with illegal arms as the second largest organised criminal industry in the world.

According to the International Labour Organization, human trafficking has an estimated 21 million victims and the illicit activity earns approximately US$150 billion in profits each year.

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