Mines Officers and Forestry Rangers from within the Natural Resources sector were Tuesday morning involved in an awareness training session on Trafficking in Persons (TIP), in an effort to better position them to assist in the elimination of the scourge here.
Junior Natural Resources Minister and TIP Heroine Simona Broomes spearheaded the session with the officers who were drawn from within the Ministry, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, the Guyana Forestry Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency.
During the session on Tuesday morning, an emotional and passionate Ms Broomes shared her personal experience in observing cases of TIP and partnering with the relevant authorities to curb the act of modern day slavery.
The Minister worked for several years as a woman miner and later as a TIP advocate before taking up her ministerial position.
Broomes said she believes that while the issue of TIP may not fall directly under her Ministry, through partnership, the scourge can be eliminated.
She said there is provision within regulations that govern the sector to all mines officers and forestry rangers to take action against suspected TIP cases.
“I am not asking you to be a police but we all have to do our bit as Guyanese. The Constitution mandates us to help,” she said.
Broomes acknowledged the infrastructural setbacks these officers are confronted with but committed the government’s help to fixing the problems with roads and bridges in the interior region where TIP is mostly allowed to fester.
She also placed shop owners in the interior on notice that the recklessness throughout the mining areas will have to stop.
Broomes burst into tears as she recalled one incident involving a 15 – year – old girl that was trafficked in the interior.
She said mines officers must be on the lock out for TIP and not fall prey or cover up this type of modern day slavery.
“Use the regulation to do prevention and report suspected TIP cases,” she charged.
The Minister was backed up by First Lady, Ms Sandra Granger who also agreed that these individuals had a role to play in the prevention of TIP.
She said they ought to see themselves as the government’s eyes and ears on ground and condemned the act.
The First Lady said it cannot be denied that women, boys and children are trafficked in Guyana and across the world.
A presentation was done on combating Trafficking in Persons after which participants were involved in a question and answer segment.