KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Senior superintendent of police (SSP) in charge of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Clifford Chambers, has rejected aspects of the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report on Jamaica as unfair and unfounded.
The report, published by the United States State Department and was released on July 27, maintained Jamaica’s Tier 2 Watch List ranking for the second consecutive year.
It said Jamaica “does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however it is making significant efforts to do so”.
The report also stated that “the Government did not demonstrate evidence of overall increasing anti-trafficking efforts compared to the previous period”.
Addressing a World Day Against Trafficking in Persons discussion forum at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) on July 30, SSP Chamber said Jamaica has “gone in excess” of what was done in the previous period in terms of anti-trafficking activities.
“I know the effort that we have put in, I know that we have had more arrests, I know that we have cases before the courts, I know that we have covert operatives, I know that we have arrested some high profile people,” he argued.
He also took issue with aspects of the report, which alleged that the Jamaican police is complicit in prostitution rings, and some rings are suspected to recruit children.
“We have gone on a lot of sting operations and we have never seen any evidence leading to this. We have seen evidence leading to business operators, to accountants, lawyers, and those persons have been prosecuted. Some of the cases are still being worked on, but we have never seen this nexus between police involvement and trade,” he said.
“We reject the report, it is unfair. It has some unfounded anecdotes and no specific instances were given. You can’t rely on anecdotes in a document of this magnitude and that is one of the issues that we have,” he said.
He noted further that the report used “some very interesting terms, ‘suspected to be’ and ‘alleged to have been’ and when you use those words, then you cannot ascribe facts and so we cannot say, ‘give us the facts so that we can work on it’. Those are some of the gaps in my opinion as it relates to the report and some of the things that must be addressed.”
SSP Chambers pointed out that the unsubstantiated claims in the report have implications for Jamaica.
The discussion form involved representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), Child Development Agency (CDA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
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