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St. Thomas Parish Community: Source of child sex trafficking?

In St. Thomas, Jamaica, data from local police indicate that many parents are selling their children into sexual exploitation in exchange for monetary compensation. Parents involved seem to believe that as long as the girl is consenting, even if under the age of sixteen, she can decide whether or not she wants to engage in sexual activities without getting the police involved. However, under the nation’s 2003 Child Care and Protection Act, children under the age of sixteen cannot legally give consent to sexual activities. The act also protects children against child abuse and neglect, and states that a child’s views are only to be taken into account when they are of sufficient age to make logical decisions for themselves. Thus, those who engage in sexual acts with minors will go to prison, according to St. Thomas police superintendent Merrick Watson.

Source: Deon Green, “St Thomas Parents Pimping Their Kids,” The Gleaner, March 28, 2014, http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140328/lead/lead2.html.

Background: Leith L. Dunn, “Investigating the Worst Forms of Child Labour, No. 8, Jamaica, Situation of Children in Prostitution: A Rapid Assessment,” November 2001, http://www.ilo.org/ipecinfo/product/download.do?type=document&id=2441.

Student Researcher:  Angelica St. Rose (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator:  Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)

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