March 19, 2010
Star News



A video in which a Jamaican man was taped offering a 13-year-old relative for sex to an investigator posing as a tourist, is now making the rounds on the popular websites Facebook and YouTube.

In the video, the man collected US$400 (J$36,000) in exchange for the girl. He along with another man, after being held by cops were sentenced for human trafficking in 2008.

The case, which was the first of its kind to be tried in Jamaica, attracted national attention in 2006 when it first broke. A 55-year-old man and his 57-year-old co-accused, both of Kingston addresses, were convicted after they were caught during a sting operation accepting money in exchange for the teenager. The video of this transaction is now gaining popularity.


The video was filmed by representatives from Shared Hope International (SHI), an organisation devoted to fighting the trafficking of females for sexual purposes. The four-minute long video has secured the attention of many Internet users, with all expressing disgust at the actions of the men. Some, however, have expressed concern over whether the video was legitimate.

Loren D. Wohlgemuth Jr., media relations & communications specialist at SHI, allayed those fears, however, by confirming that the video was indeed legitimate. Information from the organisation's website revealed that it worked with a human rights investigator in May 2006 to examine the commercial sex markets in Jamaica. SHI provided information to the Organised Crime Investi-gation Division and the sting operation, shown on the video was planned and executed.

The video opens with the investigator meeting with the police and revealing that he had been offered girls as young as 12 years for sexual purposes. He said his investigations had also revealed that girls were also being taken from Jamaica to other countries.

girl's relative

It then shifts to a scene with a young girl who is asked her age by the investigator. Before she could answer, however, a man in the background, later identified as the girl's relative, chimes in.

"Yea man, she a 13 plus," he said eagerly, "no, she nuh reach 15 yet." The girl later confirms his claims saying; "soon 14, Septem-ber I'm 14." She also reveals that she is still in school and names a high school located in the Corporate Area.

In another scene in a hotel bedroom, the supposed uncle reveals that he does not tell the child's mother about his activities and that he can get her out of the house whenever he wants. He also reveals that the child's mother trusts him. He is also shown accepting US$300 (J$27,000) and his partner accepts US$100 (J$9,000), for introducing him to the 'tourist'. At the end of the video, the police enter and arrest the men.

The men were tried and the video captured during the sting was used as evidence against them. On November 11, 2008, they were each sentenced to 12 months imprisonment at hard labour.

Melissa Snow, Director of Programmes at SHI, told THE STAR that the organisation has done no stings in the island since then. She however revealed that during its human rights investigations, "we found countless numbers of girls that were being victimised."

She said the organisation knew that sex trafficking existed in Jamaica and came here to "investigate how it worked and how easy it was to obtain a child, and then do our outreach." She said SHI partners with two local organisations that provide shelter and care for affected girls.

She said their research showed that girls from Kingston were sometimes taken to the tourist locations and made to work in clubs where the demand for them was high, as men believed it was safer to have sex with children. Others she said, were trafficked out of the island to places like The Bahamas.

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