Legal Eagle : Human trafficking - modern day slavery

March 13, 2017

The action of illegally transporting people from one country to another, or from one place to another within the same country for the purpose of forced labour, sexual exploitation or any other illegal purposes, is generally described as human trafficking.

Next to the drug trade, it is regarded as the second-largest organised criminal industry in the world.

So widespread is the problem of human trafficking that in 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially of women and children.

Many countries in the world, including Jamaica, have signed to this protocol. The significance of signing to it means that each individual country will, in its jurisdiction and when necessary, collaborate with other countries to combat the scourge of human trafficking.

Trafficking in persons involves, but is not limited to, recruitment of persons by deception or force, transportation within the country or across borders, whether legally or illegally, but for the purpose of exploitation or for an illegal purpose.

According to statistics referred to and accepted by international bodies, about 27 million people worldwide are enslaved. This attack on the dignity of humanity is often times described as inhuman and also as modern-day slavery.

Victims of human trafficking are usually found in bars and strip clubs, hotels and nightclubs, beauty salons, in the resort and tourist destinations, escort services, massage parlours, and restaurant,s among other places.

To identify victims of human trafficking, one could look to see if the person has signs of physical abuse, is unable to move about freely, appears afraid and withdrawn, lives with multiple people, is unable to talk freely on the telephone or otherwise, and is always accompanied by someone while in public.

These are only a few signs to look for to identify a victim.




Sex trafficking is a big part of human trafficking. This occurs when adults and children engage in commercial sex against their will due to violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other creative forms of coercion.

Generally, victims are stolen, kidnapped, sold or even exchanged by traffickers.

Jamaica, like many other jurisdictions, has taken trafficking in humans very seriously, to the extent that there have been a few high-profile arrests and prosecutions of human trafficking cases in the island.

In addition, the Ministry of Justice has established a trafficking in persons secretariat to provide educational and other support.

Young persons in particular must be careful about job offers, both in Jamaica or elsewhere, as often times there might be other duties to be performed.

They must ensure that the offer for employment is 'not too good to be true' as this could lead to unwanted advances or awkward situations that the victim might find it difficult to repel.

It is obvious that human trafficking has no place in any society, much less modern society. The fight against human trafficking must be everybody's business as the pain of each victim must be the pain of all humanity.

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