Jamaica and United States sign MoU to combat child trafficking
KINGSTON – The Governments of Jamaica and the United States of America yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership, which is aimed at combating the trafficking of children in Jamaica.
As part of the agreement, the US will provide Jamaica with funding valued at US$4.5 million for projects and other related activities over a period of four years.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Marcia Gilbert-Roberts said the objective of the partnership is to save Jamaican children and at-risk youth from being trafficked.
“One of the most valuable assets for the future of any country is its young people –our children. We are pleased, therefore, that Jamaica was invited by the Government of the United States to participate in this project,” she said.
The official said that the MoU signing represents another important milestone in Jamaica’s relations with the United States.
“Without partnerships of this kind, our journey towards achieving our targets under the sustainable development goals and Vision 2030 would certainly be more extensive and arduous,” she said.
Chargé d’ Affaires, United States Embassy in Jamaica, Eric Khant, for his part, said his Government was pleased to be partnering with Jamaica on this initiative, and stressed that human trafficking is a very serious offence which must be eliminated.
“Approximately 2.5 million people are victims of human trafficking every year and many of those victims are children. This type of modern day slavery should not exist in our society….Because of that, we work closely with our international partners to fight this heinous crime, and we’re delighted that we can now partner with Jamaica under this Child Protection Compact Partnership,” he said.
Khant said the four-year agreement will help to strengthen Jamaica’s ability to prosecute and punish traffickers, identify and provide comprehensive services to victims and prevent these crimes from happening.
“Our hope is that together, we will be able to eliminate child trafficking all together in Jamaica and the wider region,” he added.
Jamaica is the fourth country to have been selected for a CPC partnership and the first country from the Caribbean. The others are Ghana, Peru and the Philippines.
The Government has been tackling human trafficking through public education and training and capacity-building measures under the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit, set up in 2005, has been making gains, with 76 victims rescued and 19 persons arrested and charged for violations. Millions of dollars in fines have been secured.
These initiatives will be strengthened when they are merged with activities under the CPC Partnership.
Photo: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Marcia Gilbert-Roberts (left) and Chargé d’ Affaires, Embassy of the United States in Jamaica, Eric Khant, signing copies of the Memorandum of Understanding or the Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership. (Credit: JIS)