A wild-life trader from Soesdyke on the East Bank of Demerara, who was recently found guilty of trafficking in persons has been sentenced to three years in jail.
The man was found guilty of trafficking two Venezuelan nationals.
In handing down the sentence, Magistrate Faith McGusty, ordered the businessman, Feezal Shaw to also pay $2.127M in restitution to one of the survivors.
In a statement today, the Ministry of Human Services explained that the restitution request was presented by a senior officer attached to the Ministry’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons Unit.
The convicted businessman reportedly brought the victims from Venezuela and forced them to work on at his ‘local zoo.’
“The conditions in which the survivors were forced to work can only be described as inhumane and subjected to substandard living conditions,” the Human Services Ministry said.
The Ministry, through its Counter-Trafficking in Persons Unit, has been monitoring the case since 2018, and providedsupport to the survivors. The case involving the second victim is reportedly pending.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud said the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Unit has been working closely with the authorities to ensure human traffickers are brought to justice.
“The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons Unit has been actively working to ensure persons who engage in Trafficking in Persons face the full force of the law and today we are satisfied that there is not only a conviction but restitution has been awarded to the victim,” Minister Persaud said.
Noting that her Ministry has zero tolerance for Human Trafficking, Minister Persaud said the Unit has been engaged in countrywide and specialized sensitization sessions aimed at heightening awareness among the populace on the dangers of Human Trafficking.
The Unit has also been training citizens to identify suspected victims of Human Trafficking. It is Government’s hope that more perpetrators will be convicted and ordered to pay restitution to survivors.
“The restitution is a significant step in the right direction and I believe it will definitely let the person affected understand that justice is served and I am pleased to know justice was served in this case,” Minister Persaud said.
Head of the Counter-TIP Unit Tanisha Williams-Corbin said her Unit is committed to the cause.
“We are committed to advocating and ensuring victims of human trafficking get the necessary justice they deserve. We are satisfied the perpetrator was brought to justice and also elated that the survivor will be compensated,” Williams-Corbin said.
The Ministry reiterates and encourages persons to report all suspicious activities to the hotline on 227-4083 or 623-5030. For Spanish speaking persons, contact can be made to 624-0079.
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