Here’s What You Need To Know About Jamaica’s History Of Sexual Assault
By Rachel George
Before booking your next trip to Jamaica and other Caribbean countries, there’s something you should know first.
The U.S. State Department has issued warning after warning for people traveling to Jamaica and other Caribbean countries about their sexual assault happenings over the years. According to the Detroit Free Press, over 70 Americans have been raped in Jamaica over the last seven years, despite suspicions of more unreported cases.
In September, two Detroit women were raped at gunpoint while on vacation in a Jamaican hotel. Last year, twelve Americans were raped in Jamaica. In 2014, five Americans were sexually assaulted in the Bahamas. Another woman was gang-raped at a Jamaican Sandals resort in 2015.
In a report by the U.S. Embassy, reports of sexual assaults occurred at residencies, in hotel rooms, casinos and on cruise ships. Apparently, most tourists are targeted by hotel staff, jet ski operators, lifeguards, etc.
Five Americans reported being sexually assaulted in the Bahamas in 2014. A woman was gang-raped at a Sandals resort in Jamaica in 2015, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Dominican Republic, one of the most visited Caribbean destinations, was also cited in a report by the State Department, indicating offenders used date rape drugs on tourists. Tainted alcohol was found in Mexico after an investigation Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 170 tourists were found to have experienced illness, blackouts or death while drinking at Mexico’s popular all-inclusive resorts. The investigation found that some had been sexually assaulted.
Earlier this year in January, the U.S. Department of State issued a level two travel advisory stating, “Exercise increased caution in Jamaica … Sexual assaults frequently occur, even at all-inclusive resorts. Local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.” The advisory also suggested not traveling to some areas of Montego Bay, Kingston, and Spanish Town.
In the last year, Jamaica received over one million visitors from the U.S. itself, though being ranked the third-most dangerous country for female travelers, after Egypt and Morrocco.
Traveling to Jamaica soon? Avoid public buses, secluded areas, especially in resorts. Avoid walking or driving at night, even alone and read up on Jamaica’s crime and safety report.