This despicable crime is not new, however, in recent time traffickers have become adept at using the Internet – social media, messaging apps and email platforms – to lure unsuspecting and vulnerable citizens, particularly women and children into a life of slavery and servitude. They tend to use elaborate schemes involving promises of jobs, a better life, friendship and even romance. It is estimated that hundreds of Jamaicans have been victims of human trafficking (National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons – NATFATIP).
How to Protect Yourself from Human Trafficking
- Properly research the job opportunities you see advertised, especially if they are in another parish or country. You may even visit the Ministry of Labour and Social Security at https://mlss.gov.jm/ to check on an employer.
- Verify the identities of the persons with whom you communicate online about job or business opportunities.
- Do not provide any of your contact details or locations to strangers online.
- Be wary of strangers who befriend you online, especially if the conversation is of a romantic or sexual nature, or they claim to have the solutions to all your problems.
- If you are under the age of 18, do not meet up with persons you meet online without the knowledge of your parents or a guardian.
How to Identify Potential Victims of Human Trafficking
A victim of human trafficking may:
- Appear fearful or anxious when in the presence of his or her ‘employer’
- Live with his or her ‘employer’
- Hesitate to speak to others freely
- Respond to questions with answers that are seemingly scripted
- Not be in possession of identification documents (if he or she is an adult)
- Not be attending school (if he or she is a child)
- Show signs of physical abuse
- Receive little or no payment for ‘work’ done
When faced with a suspected case of human trafficking, be careful in your approach as the victim may be fearful or in danger, and also be tactful, as the person may not be a victim, despite exhibiting some of the signs listed above.
For further information or to report a suspected case of human trafficking, contact the NATFATIP toll free at 888-587-8423 or email: [email protected]
Sources: The Jamaica Information Service and The National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons