Kingston, Jamaica: Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) (Amendment) Act 2021 has been passed by the Members of the House of Representatives with the purpose to create tougher penalties for the accused on Wednesday.
This decision has been taken to amend the monetary penalties so as to remove the option of fines instead of custodial sentences as a penalty for certain offences that are outrageous and increase the financial penalties under the – Section 15 of the Act.
It also makes amendments in Section 10 of the Child Care and Protection Act to remove the option of fine instead of the custodial sentence. The Minister of National Security – Dr Horace Chang, asserted that “The government is creating a legal framework which will punish human traffickers while deterring individuals from getting involved in the criminal activity”.
Further citing human trafficking as a heinous crime, the Minister noted that it also provides significant funding to the underworld. He further highlighted that Jamaica does not report that many human trafficking cases, but still, it could become another major risk to the Caribbean nation in providing the kind of funding to the underworld, which the government does not want.
The act earlier has also been amended twice. The Trafficking in Persons – (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act was passed in the year of 2007 and was then amended in 2013 to increase the penalties. It was again amended in the year 2018, which allows a judge to try trafficking offences without a jury.
The island of the Dominican Republic reports the highest cases of human trafficking in the Caribbean region, which generates around the US $9.5 billion annually.
While according to the data of the International Labor Organisation, more than 40.3 million people become the victims of human trafficking every year. The United States is the nation that records highest human trafficking cases.