With Guyana still on the U.S Government’s watch list as a country where human trafficking remains a big problem, the Guyana Women Miners Organisation is expressing worry about the care that is offered to victims of trafficking in persons once they are rescued from a life of “modern-day slavery”.
The GWMO which has been leading the charge in the fight against human trafficking in Guyana, has released a comprehensive report documenting the work of the organisation in its two years of existence and the major hurdles Guyana continues to face with human trafficking.
President of the Women Miners Organisation, Simona Broomes believes there is a whole lot more work to be done to combat human trafficking in Guyana. At the launching of the report at the Pegasus hotel last Friday night, an emotional Broomes lambasted the Guyana Police Force and the agencies responsible for Social Services for failing to effectively assist in the fight of human trafficking by caring for the victims when they are rescued.
She told the story of a young girl who was rescued from a mining camp where she worked as a prostitute and found herself facing problems when she was rescued and handed over to child care services. Broomes said the young woman complained bitterly about the situation she was forced to live under at a shelter without and not being offered proper counseling.
The GWMO President said her organisation was eventually forced to find a foster home for the teenage girl and has enrolled her in a private school, where she is currently a student.
According to Broomes, many times the services that should provide care for the victims offer very little. “We have to rescue them, we have to transport them, we have to feed them, we have to house them, we have to educate them, we have to provide health for them that is cruelty with no second chance”, Broomes said as she made a passionate plea for more assistance in the fight against human trafficking.
In 2013, the group rescued 29 women and girls who were being used as prostitutes in mining camps. The majority of that number represents young girls below the age of 18.
Broomes said there is a greater need for law enforcement to play a more proactive and effective role. She highlighted several problems when it comes to security in the mining communities where human trafficking takes place.
In some instances, police officers were accused of playing a lead role in finding young women and transporting them to various mining camps. Additionally, Broomes complained that in some cases when the women are rescued, they would be taunted and ridiculed by Police officers rather than be offered support.
She has issued a call for the Government to address the problem with security in the mining communities. Ms. Broomes also want to see more police officers trained to specifically handle human trafficking cases in a professional manner.
The Guyana Women Miners Organisation intends to continue with the work that it has been doing over the years and is expected to receive international assistance through funding to continue with the fight against human trafficking.
Simona Broomes who founded and is the President of the group, was awarded in 2013 by U.S Secretary of State John Kerry as an International Hero in the fight against human trafficking.