Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, in a message to mark National Human Trafficking Awareness Day said government is dedicated to eradicating the scourge of human trafficking and will pursue all perpetrators wherever they operate.
“Human trafficking strips all victims of their rights: the right to make their own decisions; the right not to be violated in any form; the right to trade their labour freely; the right to wages when they work; and the right to communicate freely with whom they choose among a long list of others,” the Social Protection Minister explained in her message.
Minister Ally said her ministry will work assiduously to ensure that perpetrators are found, arrested, tried in the court of law and jailed. The newly appointed Social Protection Minister highlighted that human trafficking cases has increased between 2015 and 2016 regardless the efforts of the government. “Reported cases have climbed from 30 to 41, a 36.7 percent increase while the number of victims soared from 65 to 103 from 2015 to the first ten months of last year, a spike of 58.5 percent,” the Minister stated.
Minister Ally urged that citizens of Guyana become aware of the signs of human trafficking which includes limited social interaction, lack of access to education or to their parents or guardians and also being prevented from communication with people especially if the ‘boss’ is around to call the public security
Meanwhile, Acting Coordinator, Counter Trafficking Unit (C-TIP) Unit, Tanisha Williams-Corbin said that the C-TIP unit will advocate the phrase “Human Rights” to be valued through various campaign activities which includes:
- The creation and launching of a victims rights handbook
- Development and pilot testing of a Human Trafficking Module to be incorporated into the Schools Social Studies Curriculum
- Filming and releasing of a local documentary on human trafficking
- Partnering with the International Organisation for Migration and the United States Embassy Guyana in training trainers and medical professionals in the area of TIP
- Working in collaboration with other departments of the Ministry to train Community Advocates as field liaisons
- Continuing the distribution of our “information booklet on human trafficking”
- Continuing our school and community awareness campaigns;
- Partnering with the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and other stakeholders as they continue surprise inspection frameworks (SIF) throughout the length and breadth of Guyana
- And continuing to advocate for victims’ rights and providing all identified victims with the necessary individualised psychosocial support.
The acting Coordinator explained that the Ministry acts as the frontline to investigate human trafficking reports on where they will meet with the victims to guide them about their rights as well as the investigation and court procedure.
According to a GINA report, Guyana recorded 47 cases of suspected human trafficking last year which accounted for 110 alleged victims. The country has been promoted from the US Tier Two watch list to Tier Two which is commendable.