The Government of Guyana has rejected the latest United States report on Human Trafficking which called on the Guyana Government to do more to tackle the problem of Trafficking in Persons (TiP). The Government is so upset with the latest U.S report that it intends to ignore future requests from the United States for information on human trafficking in Guyana.
The Government’s criticism came three days after it was revealed that a number of teenage girls were rescued by the Guyana Women Miners Organisation from an interior mining camp where they were living as “sex slaves”
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Home Affairs Ministry stated “The Government of Guyana regrets that the US Embassy, though it requests every year responses of the Government of Guyana to a questionnaire on TIPs, does not accurately reflect these responses in its Annual Report. Consequently, the Government of Guyana wishes to make it clear that in future such questionnaires will not be completed and returned to the US authorities.”
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs which leads a Task Force on Human Trafficking, “there is no excuse for the US State Department’s Report to ignore the gains made by Guyana in addressing Trafficking in Persons. The Task Force views the Report as lacking credibility and therefore rejects the report.”
In an eight page press release, the Task Force sought to shoot down various concerns raised by the U.S State Department in its report. The task force singled out a number of points. On the point of a teenager who was killed while working at a mining pit in the interior, the task force said while it was regrettable that the teenager died in the circumstances, there was no evidence that he was a victim of human trafficking.
On the concern by the United States that enough was not being done in Guyana to hold perpetrators of human trafficking accountable, the Task Force stated that “there are debates in the National Assembly, live television and radio call in programmes as well as newspaper reports which feature aspects of trafficking in persons, the basic objective being to sensitize the populace. As far as the Government is concerned there is nothing to hide. Guyana is not a closed society where these matters are kept secret.”
The Guyana Government also took issue with the U.S calling for closer collaboration between the Government and Non Governmental Organisations to tackle the problem. The Government said the U.S should provide evidence that it has not been working with non governmental groups. “The Government of Guyana is open to partnering with NGOs. This policy has been publicly made clear on numerous occasions. The US Embassy should provide the evidence where the Government of Guyana is unwilling to engage in partnership with NGOs in combating trafficking in persons”, the report stated.
The United States in its annual International Report on Human Trafficking lashed out at the Government of Guyana for not doing enough to tackle the problem. The report states that the Guyana government “failed to demonstrate evidence of increasing efforts to hold trafficking offenders accountable with jail time over the previous reporting period”
In the 2013 report which was released by U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, Guyana has been placed on a Tier 2 watch list as a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.
The U.S also praised the work of organisations like the Women Miners Organisation and honoured its President Simona Broomes for her work in fighting human trafficking in Guyana. The Guyana Government statement made no mention of the efforts of the organisation.