The Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) has launched a new strategy, dubbed ‘Operation Uplift’, aimed at strengthening the fight against Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
Senior Superintendent of the Jamaican Police (SSP) Clifford Chambers, who is head of C-TOC, said under Operation Uplift, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit will be given additional resources and support to strengthen its operations.
“These resources include more technology and human capital and I am sure that it will result in far more productive output in their tasks,” he said.
SSP Chambers was speaking at the launch of the new strategy on May 6 at the Police Officers’ Club, St. Andrew.
He said that Operation Uplift will continue to focus on investigation, training and heightening awareness, with investigations to be expanded into asset forfeiture. There will also be increased use of technology and a move to generate support from a wider cross section of stakeholders.
Operation Uplift follows the conclusion of ‘Operation ID Fix’, which was aimed at identifying selective major players in the massage parlour sex trade.
This led to the arrest of several key and influential persons, who engaged in the trade, as well as closure of locations known to harbour persons, who facilitate these crimes, SSP Chambers said.
A total of 31 tactical operations were conducted by the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit with 12 victims identified and rescued.
In addition, 24 persons were arrested and charged; six for human trafficking offences and 18 for offences such as living off the earnings of prostitution and rape, and misleading and deceptive conduct.
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said the Government is fully committed to eliminating TIP.
He said a victim-centred approach is being undertaken geared towards the identification, rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of TIP victims.
“The machinery of the Government is well oiled to deal with the perpetrators of this crime, as well as to provide care, shelter and security for these victims,” the Justice Minister said.
For her part, Chair for the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NTFATP), Carol Palmer, expressed gratitude to the police for their efforts against “the scourge of modern-day slavery.”
“I commend them for their commitment and dedication to duty. I look forward to continuing to support their efforts because Jamaica must one day soon be free from human trafficking,” she said.
C-TOC is a merger of the Flying Squad and the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID).
The eight-unit branch was formed to strengthen the country’s security framework to effectively combat terrorism and organised crime in all forms.
The addition to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit, C-TOC also includes: Counter Terrorism and Special Investigation, National Strategic Anti-gang (NSAU)/Transnational Crime, Communication Forensic and Cybercrime (CFCU), Operations and Special Enquiries (Stolen Motor Vehicle, Major Robberies), Constabulary Financial Unit, Fraud Squad (Electronic Fraud), Intelligence and Covert Evidence Gathering, and Intellectual Property (Vice Squad).