Government, through the Ministry of Social Protection and other agencies working collaboratively, has vowed to up the ante in its efforts to stamp out human trafficking.
Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence said Government recognises the negative impacts of human trafficking, and will take proactive measures to address this scourge, by putting a system in place that is aimed at its eradication.
She told GINA that her ministry, through collaboration with a Non-Governmental Organisation, was able to secure comfortable living quarters for TIP victims.
She further noted that the TIP Unit at the Ministry’s Labour Department was also restructured to make it more efficient. More personnel will be recruited and training will be done.
“We are going to ensure that (the TIP) unit is peopled with the right skills and also to work with the Guyana Police Force to ensure that together, we can begin to tackle these issues from a holistic point…There are going to be extended focus in this area of trafficking because I think people have begun to look at it as though it’s a one off something, and so we are going to have a continued approach in terms of seeking and finding those perpetrators and bringing them before the court,” Minister Lawrence emphasised.
The intention is to ensure that both the masterminds behind TIP and those who conspire with them are brought to justice. She also noted that, “It’s more than that, now is to ensure that we have a plan for each victim, and be able to help them to move forward with their lives.”
For three consecutive years, the United States of America State Department’s TIP Report had placed Guyana on the Tier Two Watch List. This, according to the report, means that Guyana does not yet fully meet the minimum international standards for eliminating TIP, but the country is making efforts to do so.
Since the Trafficking in Persons Act was enacted, very little was done to make the legislation useful and effective. In this regard, Government announced its plans to reconvene meetings of the TIP Ministerial Task Force on this year.
GINA said the Task Force will be chaired by Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan. He will be joined by Ministers from the Ministry of Social Protection, Legal Affairs, Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.
One major priority of the Task force will be the formulation of an Action Plan for the period 2016-2017 to tackle human trafficking.