The Problem of Forced Prostitution in Jamaica

Author - Ramesh Sujanani
Author – Ramesh Sujanani

The headlines on the front page of a recent Gleaner (June 24, 2014) almost says it all. “”Sex Shop Slavery -Forced Prostitution in Massage Parlours’” It further develops that the young ladies seeking employment in massage parlours ‘Are forced into having sex with clients’.

‘Forced”?  I am not sure how that would work; I doubt it is possible to force sex on an able bodied woman, without committing rape, a serious criminal offense. The procedure I suspect would involve the payment of some money for sexual favours, which makes the act ‘prostitution’, a common enough problem in Jamaica.

 Surprisingly, that there have been no arrests for trafficking in females, young or old, and not of the age suspected. Nor are there mass arrests and convictions for prostitutes, or disciplinary procedures. There are reports of missing  femalechildren and adolescents almost every day in the Jamaican press, and I fear these children are the ones captured and trafficked; it somehow appears that children who are trafficked, come from all age groups, and it appears they are not found or recovered. This presents a possibilitythat they may never return, and causes a new fear in the lives of parents and other children; and it is typical of occurrences in Bangladesh, India, and Africa among other poverty stricken countries, who suffer almost 15% of the world’s peoples.

But we are a small island in the Western world, why is it we cannot monitor the situation more closely? Children may go out via container ships, but they would have to be tied, drugged, and otherwise restrained. Now the rule is a closed container ship has to besearched by Customs or Security agents. What is happening now, that does not reveal the ship’s outgoing cargo?

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It appears that while prostitution is still prevalent, abductions are taking place in greater numbers, so how is this being facilitated?

Human Rights Watch believes hundreds of women, many of them refugees of conflicts, criminal or otherwise social, are being sold into forced marriages and relationships, by various organizations.

Therefore we need in Jamaica, a measure of conspicuous control: Prostitutes, and their activities, their family and children, need to be logged and accounted from the tender age of six. While this is being done, the health and social wellbeing of the person (the prostitute), should also be recorded, creating some permanent record of their existence and the development of their ‘’careers”.

In a free country, no one should be constantly observed unless their individual activity is criminally inclined. The correct, legal authority can only be the State, being the entity that promotes Law and Order, and enshrines freedoms of the person.

So we need to go to the designated authority for a system of monitoring prostitutes, their business practices, their medical conditions, their families and social practices. Otherwise the fear of communicable diseases, acts of violent criminality, and transmitted social misbehaviour will continue to persist.

Hopefully, this monitoring process can track a person involved in sexual traffic, though I doubt it.

Most ladies of the night will visit their doctor from time to time. Perhaps this is the point at which to start. Every infection and complaint should be carefully recorded (which I am sure is being done at this time), as the need to pass on the information may be urgent. I venture to say a case of HIV, Hepatitis, and  very infectious viruses and bacteria, may be brought to medical management and public scrutiny; mainly to make others aware for their own safety.


Then the law enforcement community may be aware of the prostitute, and her associates, so as to look out for sexual slavery.

Exposure to smugglers and various types of nefarious trafficking in persons will become more active, unless we institute proper monitoring  and  proactive effort. Personally, I believe contact with the proper law enforcing community should be executed as a matter of priority.

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