The government increased protection efforts. The government identified four Jamaican adult victims exploited in sex trafficking, compared with not identifying any victims for the last two years. The government provided medical care and shelter for three of the identified victims who subsequently left the country and repatriated the other victim. The government could provide legal aid for victims, but did not do so during the reporting period. The government reported NGOs provided the victims food and hygiene products. Authorities used victim identification and referral SOPs to identify the victims; the SOPs included an international organization’s victim screening form. The government had a cooperation agreement with the Government of Cuba for Cuban workers in the country; the government reported it screened Cuban workers for trafficking indicators and the workers remained in possession of their passports and received their wages. Specially trained police officers interviewed potential trafficking victims and reported generally screening for trafficking indicators when detaining or arresting individuals involved in commercial sex, migrants, and those in other vulnerable groups. The government did not detain or arrest any individuals involved in commercial sex. Observers reported police and other government employees, including those involved in health and welfare, generally lacked sensitization on child sex tourism and familial trafficking.
The government did not have a specific funding allocation for victim care but the Minister of Home Affairs could request the Prime Minister provide financial support for victims as needed. The government reported using such special funding in the amount of 12,500 Eastern Caribbean Dollars ($4,630) to support trafficking victims during the reporting period; the government reported in general funding was sufficient for immediate victim needs but not for longer term care. The government worked with NGOs and encouraged them to report cases. The government did not maintain a dedicated shelter for trafficking victims but arranged and paid for trusted private sector accommodations when the need arose. Foreign and domestic adult victims could choose whether to stay in the accommodations or leave them at will. The government did not allow foreign victims to receive formal residency status because it considered them wards of the state. The government offered victims who were material witnesses in a criminal case to remain and work in the country. The anti-trafficking law mandated special provisions for child victims that could include ensuring understanding of their rights, respect for privacy, housing, care, reunification with family in the country or abroad if safe and possible, specialized mental and physical care, and education. The Division of Human Services could place child victims in one of two children’s homes, but did not report doing so during the reporting period.
The anti-trafficking law contained victim protection provisions, such as privacy measures, the ability to testify via video link, and witness protection, to encourage victim participation in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. The government reported four victims cooperated in the prosecution of a suspected trafficker with statements provided to qualified social workers; the government reported it provided regular patrols and CCTV coverage at their accommodations. Children could also testify via video and have a guardian or social worker present during testimony and court proceedings. The anti-trafficking law provided judges could, upon conviction of a trafficker, order them to pay restitution and the government reported it could facilitate the payment of civil compensation to a victim. The government did not report using these provisions during the reporting period. Foreign victims had the same access to care as domestic victims. The government reported alerting a neighboring island to the impending arrival of three of the identified trafficking victims en route to the island. The Ministry of Home Affairs reported it supported training of task force members; forensic laboratory employees; police, immigration, health, labor, youth development, and family court personnel; and NGOs on victim identification; the police reported including victim-centric language in trafficking case intake practices for the first time as a result of the training.