Last year, Jamaica was ranked the third most dangerous country for female travelers by Trip by Skyscanner, a California-based travel research company that reviews destinations worldwide. Egypt and Morocco topped the list.
All travel agents must inform any female clients of this problem before they book a female client to Jamaica.
The U.S. State Department has repeatedly warned tourists about Jamaica. This island paradise has a pervasive sexual assault problem, an estimated one American is raped each month. "Sexual assaults against American guests by hotel employees at resort hotels on the north coast have again risen," the State Department wrote in a 2018 report.
Over the last seven years, 78 U.S. citizens have been raped in Jamaica according to State Department statistics from 2011-17. The victims include: A mentally handicapped woman in her 20s; an Indiana mother gang-raped by three Cuban soccer players in a resort bathroom stall; a 20-year-old woman raped by two men in her hotel; two Detroit mothers raped at gunpoint in their room.
A teenager and her 21-year-old friend, gang-raped in a dark laundry room at a Jamaican Sandals resort, pinned to the floor by a hotel lifeguard, the teenage girl lay paralyzed with fear as the man bit her lip and raped her, violently robbing her virginity. When her mother found her after the assault, trembling and holding herself in a hallway, the 17-year-old couldn't speak. She could only point to a metal door. Behind the door, her friend was being gang-raped by three Sandals resort lifeguards.
Perhaps most alarming for tourists is that sexual assaults are occurring inside gated resorts — the place they are led to believe that they are most safe. For example, this year, the Beaches Ocho Rios Resort & Golf Club, where the lifeguard assaults occurred, was given the Travelers Choice Award by TripAdvisor; it's the travel group's highest recognition given to the top 1 percent of hotels.
According to U.S. Embassy reports, 12 Americans were raped in Jamaica last year, half of them inside resorts by hotel employees. The U.S. government suspects this number is much, much higher as sexual assaults are often underreported, and the embassy figures don't include victims from other countries.
"There's no justice in Jamaica," "The resort industry knows it. The law enforcement people know it. The rapist is set free on bail and are never called back for trial. The U.S. State Department has questioned Jamaica's ability to do anything about the problem, noting its police force is considered "underpaid, poorly trained and understaffed."
There are no legal remedies once the victims return to the United States except for suing the travel agent for not informing the client of how dangerous Jamaica is for female clients. "Part of the responsibility of a travel agent is providing information to help clients so, they can make informed decisions about traveling abroad."
The resorts are only responsible for firing the rapist employees. 50% of the victims were attacked in resorts at the hands of its employees. Suing a resort in Jamaica is a waist of time and money.
If a U.S. citizen has been a victim of sexual assault overseas, the State Department urges them to contact the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 or the closest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Additionally, travel agents should encourage clients traveling overseas to enroll their travel plans in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP.state.gov) so they can receive important messages about their destinations, including alerts and updates to travel