State Department Scraps Data On Americans Harmed In Jamaica
By Parker Diakite
Did the U.S. Department of State put an end to publishing crime data against Americans harmed in Jamaica? Investigators from the Detroit Free Press think so.
For the first time in seven years, the State Department did not list the number of Americans who were victims of sexual assault, murdered, kidnapped or robbed in Jamaica in its 2019 Crime and Safety Report.
The data from 2018 was previously published in a 2018 Free Press Investigation, which found that the number of sexual assaults against U.S. tourists remained an unchecked problem on the Caribbean island, with an estimated one American raped a month, according to the report.
Officials from the State Department did not respond to requests made by the media outlet, even though authorities warned that rape and sexual assault are serious problems throughout Jamaica, including at resorts and hotels where the use of date rape drugs is possible.
The Jamaica 2019 Crime and Safety Report was released following questions regarding safety on a few Caribbean islands.
At least 10 American tourist deaths have been reported in the Dominican Republic since May and 19 people have died in Costa Rica as a result of alledged faulty alcohol.
There are currently nine Caribbean destinations that the U.S. State Department has issued Level 2 travel advisories for, citing violence and crime.
Level 2 means that travelers should exercise “Increased Caution.”
The other countries on the Level 2 travel advisory list: The Bahamas, Belize, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and Turks and Caicos,
Despite the lack of data in the Jamaica 2019 Crime & Safety report, U.S. officials continue to warn about sexual violence against women tourists in Jamaica.
“If you are a victim of a sexual assault, contact the police and the U.S. Embassy in Kingston as soon as possible,” the State Department said in the report.
Through an investigation, however, sexual assault victims told the Detroit Free Press that resorts have ignored their fears, discouraged them from going to the police, and in some cases silenced them with free travel in exchange for them signing non-disclosure agreements.
Even the State Department warns that sexual assault victims may not receive fast or adequate services after reporting the crime to police in the report:
“Victims of sexual assault in Jamaica should not expect the same assistance routinely offered in the United States. Rape kits are not always available, and victims must often ask for medication to avoid STD transmission and reduce the chances of pregnancy. An offer of counseling is unlikely. Law enforcement shortcomings exist in the collection of evidence. The prosecution of rape cases moves very slowly. Victims may need to return to Jamaica during the legal process.”