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The preservation of peace and the creation of a sense of security and safety for the Jamaican people is the driving force behind the strategies and policies of the Ministry of National Security. Indeed, the establishment of a safer, orderly Jamaican society, through interconnected strategies and multi-sector buy-in, is a priority for this Ministry and its agencies and departments. It is therefore with great concern that the reported incidents of human trafficking in and across our Jamaican borders are observed.

The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly applicable as it relates to human trafficking. The sharing of information to warn and increase the awareness of vulnerable demographics is important in the prevention of these most heinous of crimes. Simultaneously, the establishment of mechanisms for pursuit and apprehension of offenders and the strengthening of our local framework to prosecute human traffickers, is critical. While we have seen great strides made in the sharing of information to prevent these crimes, as well as the strengthening of legislative and policing mechanisms, there is yet work to be done.

I must therefore applaud the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons (NATFATIP) for the staging of this timely conference. I look forward to the information that stakeholders present will receive over the two days of this conference. It is my hope that the capacity of our security forces, as well that of our legal and social agents, will be greatly enhanced. Let us work together to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business in safety and peace.