Human Trafficking on The Rise in Jamaica Thanks in Part to Social Media

Perpetrators of human-trafficking crimes are said to be raking in lucrative fees to recruit victims of what is estimated by the United Nations to be a US$32-billion-a-year global trade.

Although there is no specific data on the worth of the local trade in trafficking of people, the Jamaican police said there has been an increase in the number of children and women who are being recruited under the pretense of lucrative job offers that later lead to horrifying sexual exploitation.

“Because it is a business being run, we are seeing intermediaries, persons who get really nice stipends to do the recruiting, and so they will connect with people who they know. They will visit the clubs and say, ‘what do you get for payment for the night?’ And let’s say they are told $2,000, they will say, ‘what about US$2,000?’ And immediately persons are recruited,” head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Trafficking in Persons Unit, Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry said yesterday.

Berry, who along with other stakeholders of the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in persons, was addressing reporters and editors at the weekly Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper’s head offices in Kingston, said there has been increased use of social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, as well as advertisements, to recruit victims.

He explained that both adults and children continue to be recruited for sexual exploitation, forced labor, servitude, prostitution, and pornography.

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