Police in Jamaica have been attempting to evict the homeless youth, some as young as 12-years-old, in a string of early morning raids, claiming they “attract criminals.”
The teens have been seeking refuge in the sewers and gutters because they have no other place to turn for shelter.
Yvonne McCalla-Sobers, a Jamaican LGBTI rights activist, said: “Police had already chased them from every abandoned building they previously occupied and the buildings were then torn down.”
She continued: “Some of the youth were arrested for resisting their forcible eviction. They were also charged with using swear words.”
Last week, a judge fined the homeless youth for using “calumnious language,” but then ruled that police couldn’t evict them from the sewers because sewers are public spaces.
“Although the Jamaican Commissioner of Police has issued a directive that LGBT victims are not to be discriminated against,” Maurice Tomlinson, a lawyer and LGBTI rights campaigner in Jamaica, told Gay Star News, “it is clear that there is a lot of work that needs to be done with the police in order for them to respect and support the human rights of vulnerable gay Jamaicans.”
Video of the sewers where the teenagers have been living was uploaded to YouTube in December. See the disturbing footage below.