By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Kinesha Thom, a member of the Guyana Sex Workers Coalition (GSWC) and an advocate for the rights of sex workers, is not at all happy by the recent Trafficking in Persons (TIP) sweep conducted by Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Simona Broomes.
Twenty nine non-nationals were apprehended in Bartica, Region Seven following an exercise carried out by Broomes and a team of officers from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit (TIP) and the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) on Sunday. The alleged perpetrators had the victims’ passports in their possession.
However, Thom is not convinced that the women were being held forcefully and says that Broomes is targeting prostitution instead of TIP.
“The case/findings/report has nothing to do with TIP. Ms. Broomes was obviously after prostitution and has TIP confused with sex work,” said Thom.
The sex advocate said that Broomes is using “TIP as a disguise to target prostitution…if you read the report there is no case of TIP.”
She however acknowledge that that “soliciting sex” is illegal in Guyana while pointing out that the persons should have been charged with prostitution instead.
“I think she is using this as an opportunity to continue her work as a person who is recognized for TIP…the headline didn’t say what they were caught doing and did she catch all 29 of them doing sex work?” questioned Thom.
Attempts made by iNews to secure a comment from Broomes proved futile however Broomes was quoted in one section of the media saying that persons are in denial over the incident.
“Many persons are saying that Miss Broomes don’t know what is prostitution from human trafficking but I think what is happening is that there is a state of denial by the Guyanese people because of the previous administration. The raid in Bartica was a TIP raid and we have evidence to that effect, persons from the bar were not in control or possession of their passport and that is not a good sign, how the bar was situated, the amount of pimps at the bar and all of that was evidence…I will not be Minister of lies and I am not confusing TIP with prostitution,” Broomes is quoted as saying.
She made it clear that prostitution is a human rights issue; something she would not seek to venture into at this point in time.