United States and Jamaica Highlight Key Achievements and Recommit to Combating Child Trafficking

Ambassador N. Nick Perry (center) greets Minister of State, Ministry of National Security, The Honorable Zavia Mayne (right), with Permanent Secretary and Chair of NATFATIP Courtney Williams (left)

United States and Jamaican government officials and implementing partners International Organization for Migration, Warnath Group, and Winrock International, convened for the third bilateral dialogue of the United States-Jamaica Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership.  Government officials shared accomplishments and discussed progress and challenges toward the activities and objectives of the CPC Partnership, a jointly developed plan signed by both governments in May 2018.

The dialogue centered on the achievements and challenges government stakeholders and implementing partners faced over the past year toward meeting the CPC Partnership’s shared objectives of strengthening the Jamaican government’s efforts to effectively investigate, prosecute, and convict child traffickers; identify and provide comprehensive trauma-informed care for child victims of these crimes; and prevent child trafficking in all its forms.  Participants also discussed plans for the final year of the CPC Partnership, including strategies to sustain the Partnership’s impacts and achievements beyond its conclusion.  To date, the U.S. government has invested $6.7 million in foreign assistance.  Additionally, relevant Jamaican ministries, departments, and agencies have invested staff resources, in-kind contributions, and the operating budget toward the goals and objectives of the CPC Partnership.

Participants included U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica N. Nick Perry, Acting Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Dr. Kari Johnstone, Jamaican Minister of State for the Ministry of National Security, the Honorable Zavia Mayne, and Jamaican Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security and Chair of the National Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) Courtney Williams.

During the dialogue, Acting Director Johnstone announced the official extension of the CPC Partnership until July 2023, reaffirming the U.S. government’s commitment to continue working jointly toward the CPC Partnership’s objectives for another year.  During this time, Warnath Group will work closely with Jamaican government stakeholders to strengthen victim-centered law enforcement efforts – to include training and technical assistance to criminal justice sector actors and supporting the establishment of additional multidisciplinary, child-friendly spaces to provide specialized trauma-informed care to child victims across the island.

Acting Director Johnstone also applauded the Government of Jamaica for its dedication to the Partnership and requested that “authorities across all sectors commit to improved efforts to identify suspected child trafficking victims and refer them to care through the continued institutionalization and utilization of the National Referral Mechanism” as well as supporting the increased identification of victims “as those victims who are identified are able to receive appropriate support and care, as well as justice.”

In his remarks, United States Ambassador N. Nick Perry affirmed that the United States Embassy remained committed to the success of the partnership.  He observed that, the U.S.-Jamaica CPC Partnership is the first compact of its kind in the Caribbean and one of only six in the world.   He concluded: “With focused dedication, prioritization and a whole of government approach, Jamaica has a real opportunity to emerge from this partnership as a regional leader in tackling child trafficking. That is my greatest wish for Jamaica’s children.”

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