The Government of Guyana and the United States are stepping up the fight against human trafficking in Guyana. Guyana has been named repeatedly in the US State Department’s report on human trafficking as a country where the problem exists. However, Guyana has been improving its efforts to fighting human trafficking.
On Wednesday a special workshop on strengthening Guyana’s capacity to fight human trafficking opened in Georgetown. It is being supported by the Government and the US Embassy.
According to Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, human trafficking is a developmental obstacle that must be tackled.
She reiterated Government’s commitment to ridding Guyana of every incidence of “this crime of all humanity to ensure the protection of all Guyanese and those who visit this country”.
She said “Human trafficking is a callous industry that denies victims their basic rights and dignity so that heartless perpetrators can benefit financially from exploiting vulnerable victims. The protection of Human Rights and dignity of all persons in Guyana is an essential component of good governance and the Government [of Guyana] will, by all means necessary, do what is required to curb this illicit trait… Guyana remains resilient and committed to the process of combatting Trafficking in Human Beings and the smuggling of migrants,” she said.
Guyana’s First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger through her office has been offering assistance to victims of human trafficking, especially young girls.
At the workshop, she expressed her hope that it would produce thorough Standard Operations Procedures (SOPs), adding that “we must condemn and report adults who barter their girl children for a few dollars at a brothel in a remote location. We must also understand the plight of young job-seeking men, who go into the hinterland with the promise of huge amounts of money for their labour, only to end up as slave labour… Trafficking of Human Beings and smuggling of migrants is big business… It is, therefore, in my view, imperative that comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures be developed, widely publicised, and implemented so that we in Guyana can eliminate trafficking in Human Beings”.
United States Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, praised the Government of Guyana for recently being elevated to a Tier One country in the US State Department’s 2017 report on human trafficking.
“I think I spoke with Minister Ramjattan and maybe even the President right after the announcement came out and I said [that] you need to celebrate. You need to take a victory lap but there’s a lot more work to be done… Some of the things they need to do is expand efforts in the interior country, [and create] greater partnerships with NGO’s to finalise its written identification and standard operating procedures,” he said.
Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan said that the Government is eager to facilitate this and other consultations, noting that “at the beginning of the year, we had launched this national plan of action for the prevention and response to Trafficking in Persons 2017/2018. This plan, so far, has seen a number of activities executed. These are necessary because we want to institutionalise the arrangements for the countering of Trafficking in Persons and let it be a part of the culture of this country.
The three year project to assist Guyana in strengthening its capacity to effectively combat trafficking in persons will see the hosting of a series of meetings with local stakeholders and Government officials in order to create SOPs that are clear and thorough.