Despite the progress in minimizing the prevalence of trafficking in persons’ cases in the country, acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings- Edwards, says that there are many challenges still affecting these cases in the courtrooms.
Combatting the scourge of Trafficking in Persons is more than just solving the crimes and helping the victims, and even though Guyana can speak of progress in this area, there is much more that needs to be done. That’s the word of the acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings- Edwards who elaborated on the challenges faced during Court proceedings.
“There have been challenges in identifying who is the victim of trafficking. Sometimes we have issues where some of the victims are foreign nationals and who speak Spanish or Portuguese…There is the question of having a language barrier and interpreters and the delays in security services,” Justice Cummings-Edwards said.
According to Justice Cummings-Edwards, in a report from Guyana’s Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, it was pointed out the police officers are instituting charges but have been unable to complete the files in a timely manner. This has resulted in the victims’ unwillingness to testify and inevitably the dismissal of cases for want of prosecution.
“There are also cases where foreign nationals who have illegally entered Guyana or overstayed their time are afraid or reluctant to testify even because of fear of deportation of they being challenged…many victims are poor and settle for payments…many cases which are not reported because of customs or because they are vulnerable or they are simply unaware that they are victims,” the acting Chancellor said.
Justice Edwards-Cummings added that these difficulties need to be ironed out and solutions need to be derived in order to overcome these challenges in order to have successful treatments of TIP cases in the courtrooms.