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"Dons" facilitating human trafficking – US State Dept report

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A United States (US) State Department Human Trafficking Report has implicated so called "Dons" as being part of the human trafficking problem within Jamaica.

The report was released on Monday showing the annual ranking of countries based on their level of compliance with established minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking.

The report maintains Jamaica's Tier 2 ranking, which is the same as last year.

Tier 2 means that while the government does not fully comply with the minimum standards to prevent human trafficking, strides are being made to deal with the problem.

Modern day slavery

Nonetheless, it names Jamaica as a source, transit point and destination country for female and child trafficking victims, chiefly for forced prostitution and forced labour.

Some of the trafficking of people into what is called "modern day slavery" has been attributed to "Dons" who run so-called garrison communities.

The reported stated specifically, that human trafficking occurs within Jamaica’s poverty stricken garrison communities, territories which the US State Department said are ruled by criminal "dons" operating outside of the government’s control.

The report continued that some Jamaican women and girls have been subjected to forced prostitution in other countries such as Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Bahamas, and other Caribbean destinations.

Internet & text messages used to lure victims

Indeed, it said that of the 1859 children that have gone missing in 2009, there is widespread belief that many were trafficked out of the country.

The preferred method used to lure victims the report said are the internet and text messages.

It has been recommended that the government vigorously investigate and prosecute sex and labour trafficking offenses and offenders in order to nip the problem at the root.

Under Jamaican law, human trafficking carries a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment, but according to the report, "no discernible progress" had been made in prosecuting trafficking offenders.

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