“Conjecture rather than being evidence-based”

Oops. It seems the Government of Jamaica is not responding well to yesterday’s U.S. Department of State report on human trafficking. Citing a lack of evidence-based findings, Justice Minister Mark Golding in a release said that:

“The negative inference, therefore, seems to be derived from conjecture rather than being evidence-based, which is a recurring feature of the report,” the ministry said.

In reading the report myself, as a journalist, I did notice a curious a lack of citations and direct evidence. Where did the report’s authors get the information? Who did they talk to? How did they get away with a lack of sources or citations?

The subject of human trafficking is a mysterious one. In my previous research, I found that people did not want to reveal a lot of information, and it was not just because I was a journalist. It was either because they simply did not know enough (several people from government or law enforcement said they were just beginning to study the topic) and those in civil society did not want to reveal information for fear of putting the victims in danger, which is understandable.

In any case, I guess this is a little-understood topic that requires more research. I do know that there is at least on U.S. State Department working here on the ground on human trafficking. I interviewed him on background and while he did not tell me anything specific to Jamaica, he did acknowledge U.S. efforts to combat the problem are ongoing. (Check out yesterday’s post for more about the report).

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