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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05KINGSTON1904
2005-08-10 13:28:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Kingston
Cable title:  

ASSESSMENT OF RECENT GOJ ACTION ON TIP

Tags:   KCRM  KWMN  OPRC  PHUM  PREL  SMIG  JM  TIP 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 KINGSTON 001904 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CAR (BENT) AND WHA/PPC (PUCCETTI)
DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP (OWEN AND ETERNO)
SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD AND J7

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM KWMN OPRC PHUM PREL SMIG JM TIP
SUBJECT: ASSESSMENT OF RECENT GOJ ACTION ON TIP

REF: A. STATE 97853

B. KINGSTON 01784

C. KINGSTON 00211

D. KINGSTON 01611

-------
SUMMARY
-------



1. The GOJ has responded energetically to the June 3
publication of the 2005 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report,
in which Jamaica was downgraded to Tier 3 (Ref A).
Coordinated from the highest levels by the Office of the
Prime Minister and various other Cabinet-level officials, a
National TIP Task Force has planned and executed numerous
actions to combat trafficking in Jamaica. The GOJ appears to
have taken significant steps to prosecute, protect, and
prevent trafficking in persons, including a number of recent
police raids of nightclubs and massage parlors, which
resulted in several arrests. End Summary.



--------------------------


GOJ FINDS POLITICAL WILL TO ADDRESS TIP


--------------------------





2. Since Jamaica's downgrade to Tier 3 status in the 2005 TIP
Report, the GOJ has made serious efforts to tackle the
problem of trafficking in persons. Coordinated by the Office
of the Prime Minister, and with the participation of senior
officials at nearly ten government agencies, the GOJ has
formed a National TIP Task Force that has drafted its own
action plan to address TIP. The task force, which appears to
have stirred the political will that has been lacking on this
issue in previous years, has also achieved several of the
goals suggested in Department's Tier 3 Action Plan.
Significant efforts have been made against TIP in the areas
of prosecution, protection, and prevention, including several
police raids and the establishment of a specialized police
anti-TIP unit. At least, it is clear that the GOJ is very
concerned about avoiding Tier 3 sanctions and hopes to
recover its Tier 2 Watch List status. Following are specific
actions taken by the GOJ in recent months to combat TIP.



--------------------------


PROSECUTION


--------------------------



National Task Force Develops TIP Action Plan


--------------------------





3. The GOJ mandated the formation of a National TIP Task
Force to formulate a coordinated strategy to combat and
prevent trafficking in persons in Jamaica. The task force
has convened at least ten times in May, June, and July to
develop a TIP Action Plan that identifies national-level
efforts to be taken in the short-, medium-, and long-term
with a focus on prevention, protection, and prosecution of
trafficking cases. While the group's mandate includes
exploring regional and international strategies to combat
TIP, immediate local action is its priority.



4. Anne-Marie Bonner, Principal Director, Policy Analysis and
Review Unit, Cabinet Office, is to serve as the coordinator

and chair of the interagency task force until it has
completed its short and medium term mandates, at which point
a permanent coordinator will be named. Also represented in
the group are officials from the Ministry of National
Security (MNS), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
(MFAFT), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social
Security, Ministry of Tourism, the Jamaica Constabulary Force
(JCF), Child Development Agency (CDA), Bureau of Women's
Affairs (BWA), Immigration Department, and the Victim Support
Unit of MNS. The office of the Director of Public
Prosecution and certain community-based NGOs have also been
added to the task force.

Cabinet Sub-Committee Initiates Policy Review


--------------------------





5. In addition to the work of the National TIP Task Force, a
Cabinet sub-committee was formed to explore GOJ policy issues
related to cross-border trafficking, especially Jamaica's
visa and work permit regimes and the work of immigration
officials at the country's ports. Gilbert Scott, Permanent
Secretary, MNS, has said that improving the airports' new,

SIPDIS
automated entry/exit systems will be a priority. The
sub-committee's recommendations have been incorporated into
the action plan compiled by the task force.

Legislative Review Identifies Anti-TIP Laws


--------------------------





6. The Ministry of Justice, working through the Attorney
General's Office, in June conducted a review of all domestic
legislation to identify which existing laws could be used to
combat TIP in Jamaica by prosecuting traffickers. The GOJ
identified that the Child Care and Protection Act explicitly
prohibits the trafficking of children, restricts the
employment of children under fifteen, and proscribes the
indecent or immoral employment of children in nightclubs.
The Offenses Against the Person Act bans the kidnapping,
abduction, or detention of women for sexual purposes,
prohibits the solicitation of prostitutes and the recruitment
of women into prostitution, and bans allowing or encouraging
any child to engage in commercial sexual activity. The act
also makes it illegal to own or operate brothels. The
Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Act
and the Aliens Act govern the work visa regime for foreign
nationals seeking employment in Jamaica, while the Labor
Officers (Powers) Act permits workplace inspections to
enforce the conditions of more than a dozen labor laws. The
Recruiting of Workers Act safeguards against the use of
pressure or misrepresentation to attract people to a job,
either from within or outside of Jamaica.

Police Form Specialized Anti-TIP Unit


--------------------------





7. A unit within the Organized Crime Division of the JCF has
been established to investigate trafficking crimes and to
document each case and resulting legal action. Two officers,
each with the rank of detective sergeant and at least 15
years of police experience, are staffing the new JCF TIP
Unit. Both have received TIP training from the International
Organization for Migration. The unit has been allocated a
dedicated office, which appeared to be operational when
Emboff visited (Ref B). A main focus of the TIP Unit will be
to compile data on all trafficking investigations and
resulting legal proceedings. Three major crime hotlines,
which are open 24 hours per day, are available to receive
reports of trafficking crimes. Contingent on future funding,
the GOJ is planning to establish a comprehensive management
information system for the compilation and analysis of data
on TIP investigations and prosecutions. Post has submitted a
project proposal to support the unit's efforts and ensure its
long-term viability (Ref C).

Police Enforce Existing Laws to Fight TIP


--------------------------





8. On July 10-11, police conducted raids at three nightclubs
and massage parlors in St. Catherine, where credible evidence
suggested that trafficking might be taking place. At the
True Fantasy Nightclub in Portmore, seven people were
arrested and charged. All pleaded guilty and were fined
accordingly. While the law provides for relatively small
fines, the police said they are confident that the
convictions will prevent the renewal of the owner's operating
license. In addition, the owner and several employees of
Compliments Massage Center Bar and Rooms, also in Portmore,
were charged with various offenses, including violations of
the Spirit Licenses Act, the Child Care and Protection Act,
and the Offenses Against the Person Act. One minor female
was found working as a prostitute and was charged as a
juvenile in need of care and protection. Finally, the
Fantasy Night Club was raided in connection with reports that
large numbers of foreign sex workers were employed there.
However, club operations seem to have ceased at the location,
and the police are continuing to investigate the premises.



9. In Culloden, Westmoreland, police conducted a raid at a
club known to be used as a weekly "sex market" to recruit
young women to work in go-go clubs and massage parlors.
While the JCF reported that 48 women were found at the
premises, all claimed to be at least 18 years old. The
women, along with the owner of the club, were taken into
custody, and the facility was closed by the local medical
officer for violations of public health requirements. The
police reported that they intend to pursue social
intervention programs, including skills training for local
women, in an attempt to disrupt future recruiting activities
in Culloden.



10. The JCF claims that it has carried out more than a dozen
additional investigations into nightclubs around the island,
including in Montego Bay, St. Ann, and Portland. While not
all raids were trafficking related (one was a Fugitive
Apprehension Team operation), some identified foreign
nationals and minors working as exotic dancers, and at least
one woman was found to be in violation of her visa status.
Superintendent Devon Watkis of the Organized Crime Division
reported that the police will continue to put pressure on
illegal nightclub operators. He said that JCF intelligence
already suggests a decline in massage parlor operations in
Jamaica.



--------------------------


PROTECTION


--------------------------



Child Protection Mechanisms to be Implemented


--------------------------





11. Drafting instructions for the Children's Registry,
mandated by the Child Care and Protection Act of 2004, will
be sent to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel in August. In the
meantime, the Child Development Agency has established a
reporting mechanism similar to the Children's Registry.
Existing hotlines in 14 parish offices are dedicated to
receiving reports of abuse and exploitation, with officers in
each location conducting investigations. In addition, the
process of selecting a Children's Advocate, also mandated by
the CCPA, is well advanced. The position description has
been advertised, applications are being received, and the
hiring process will be completed by the end of September


2005. Because the position is unprecedented in Jamaica, the
CDA is very concerned that the screening and hiring process
should be thorough.

Shelters Identified for Trafficking Victims


--------------------------





12. Places of safety that can act as shelters for the
protection of children who are victims of abuse and
exploitation, including trafficking, have been identified.
The government operates 8 children's "places of safety"
through the Child Development Agency. Private organizations
and NGOs, including the Women's Crisis Center, operate
additional shelters for women and children in Jamaica.
Emboff visited a recently renovated girls' home near Kingston
on July 14 (Ref B).

CDA Promotes Protection of Children


--------------------------





13. The Child Development Agency is at the forefront of
protecting Jamaica's children from abuse and exploitation.
In June, the number of children's officers within the CDA was
increased from 45 to 70 people, all of whom are available to
work with child victims and their families. The officers,
who were deployed nationwide, are all trained social workers.



14. In 2004, the CDA created a brochure summarizing the Child
Care and Protection Act of 2004. The pamphlet, titled "Act
Right: Love, Honor, and Protect Our Children," was
distributed to government agencies and schools across the
island. The document is now being more widely disseminated
to the public through post offices, entertainment centers,
and other outlets. The CDA has also prepared guidelines for
dealing with victims and has distributed them to the JCF's
Center for Investigation of Sexual Offenses and Child Abuse
(CISOCA) and the National Security Ministry's Victim Support
Unit.



--------------------------


PREVENTION


--------------------------



Bureau of Women's Affairs Leads TIP Training


--------------------------





15. From September 2004 to June 2005, nearly 500 students
aged 14-24, as well as teachers, community members, and
police officers were sensitized on the issue of trafficking
by the Bureau of Women's Affairs. With a grant from USAID
and technical assistance from the Child Development Agency
and the JCF, the bureau conducted eight TIP workshops across
the country. As a part of the training, PACT worked with
local actors to develop a dramatic presentation to illustrate
human trafficking scenarios that might occur in the Jamaican
context. The skit was made into a video that has been used
in subsequent training sessions. In training sessions hosted
by PACT from April 2004 to June 2005, more than 1,600 law
enforcement officers, educators, and other professionals were
sensitized to trafficking.

GOJ Engages International Donors


--------------------------




16. In June, the GOJ met with UN agencies to seek funding to
fight TIP locally. The three agencies present, UNICEF, UNDP,
and UNFPA, each indicated their support for the GOJ,s
efforts to address TIP. The Child Development Agency,
Women's Bureau, and JCF have jointly developed a proposal to
undertake a comprehensive study on the extent of trafficking
in Jamaica. The proposal was presented to UNICEF for funding.



17. The GOJ/ILO National Country Program for the prevention
and elimination of child labor (IPEC) was implemented, and a
Child Labor Unit has been made operational. A National Plan
of Action for Child Labor has been completed.

Public Education Programs Planned


--------------------------





18. The National TIP Task Force has placed public education
on trafficking high on its agenda, and is planning campaigns
and events to raise awareness of TIP and to advertise the
GOJ's measures to combat the problem. As a part of this
effort, the task force will be expanded to include members of
civil society, the private sector, and religious groups. The
Bureau of Women's Affairs is developing an education program
geared toward school children and communities island-wide.
The task force is also planning a public forum on August 25
in one of Kingston's parks.

Local Media Keeps TIP on the National Agenda


--------------------------





19. Since the June 3 publication of the TIP Report, local
media outlets have produced almost 50 print articles and
investigative reports on TIP, and 35 broadcast news pieces
and interviews on the subject. Through their efforts,
journalists confirmed the existence of a sex market in
Culloden, Westmoreland; found that the island's massage
parlors prefer to employ "country girls" from rural Jamaica;
and revealed the sexual abuse of children in Jamaica's
state-run children's homes and places of safety. One Jamaica
Observer columnist recently said of the TIP report, "the
resulting discussions have increased the public's awareness
of human trafficking and provide an opportunity to garner the
energies of the wider society in providing possible solutions
to this problem.8



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





20. While some senior GOJ officials continue to allude to the
disingenuous claim that they were not adequately informed of
the TIP Report and the downgrade to Tier 3 (Ref D), the GOJ's
actions seem to demonstrate that it has made a serious
commitment to combat trafficking in persons. Having failed
to act on the issue since Jamaica's first inclusion in the
TIP Report in 2003, the GOJ now appears -- in the face of
potential sanctions -- to have found the political will to
begin to combat TIP. Even the notoriously inept and
self-admittedly corrupt Jamaica Constabulary Force has been
spurred into action, as evidenced by the raids that were
conducted. As long as the Cabinet Office, which includes the
Office of the Prime Minister, is coordinating the country's
anti-TIP efforts, trafficking in persons will have the
attention of Jamaica's senior leadership. End Comment.
TIGHE