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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking, commonly referred to as modern day slavery, is the trade of humans for the purposes of forced labour, sexual slavery or some form of commercial exploitation.

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

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