The State Department of the United States released its 2019 Trafficking In Persons report this morning and is offering some praise for Guyana as the country continues its fight against trafficking in persons.
According to the report, the Guyana government has continued “to demonstrate serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period”.
Guyana remains on a Tier 1 rating, which means that Guyana is among the countries whose governments fully comply with the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
The US State Department said that during the period of review, the government demonstrated serious and sustained efforts by increasing funding for victim assistance, identifying and assisting more victims for the third consecutive year, and opening and operating a trafficking shelter outside of the capital area.
It added that “although the government meets the minimum standards, it did not provide adequate protection and shelter outside the capital, or for child and male victims. The number of trafficking investigations and new prosecutions decreased, and the number of successful convictions remained low”.
According to the 2019 international report, there have been increased efforts to prevent trafficking, pointing out that the government established an anti-trafficking unit with three trained staff within the Geology and Mines Commission to register and categorize workers in the interior and conduct spontaneous checks.
“The government approved a new national action plan for 2019 but did not report on activities under the plan by the end of the reporting period. The government last conducted research into trafficking in 2016. Authorities facilitated several awareness sessions focused on the mining and logging sectors outside the capital”, the report found.
In terms of recommendations, the US State Department believes Guyana needs to finalize, implement, and train law enforcement officials and front-line responders in written victim identification and referral procedures.
Additionally, the government should also fund specialized victim services, in particular for child, adult male, and Venezuelan victims.
The report is also recommending the vigorous investigation and prosecution of sex and labor trafficking cases, including those involving child victims and convicted traffickers, including complicit public officials, should be held accountable by imposing strong sentences.
Several other recommendations were offered.
Just yesterday, the Chief Magistrate sentenced a businesswoman to 15 years in jail for two counts of trafficking in persons. Those charges were related to the trafficking of two women from Venezuela.
Just last week, The Public Security Ministry announced a national task force to address the problem of trafficking in persons in Guyana.