Traffic ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) were on Thursday trained to identify and respond to suspected cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
The Ministry of Social Protection’s Counter Trafficking in Persons’ Unit is taking the fight to traffickers by training officials who are more likely to encounter TIP victims.
The unit wants the officials and officers to be equipped with the knowledge and skills from an investigative approach to identify and refer suspicious cases of TIP.
Unit coordinator, Tanisha Williams-Corbin said the training is a first for Guyana. “Today, we are the creating of history. This is the first of its kind, a training course that targeted traffic ranks in Guyana. We have never had this in Guyana. I think you should count yourself lucky.”
Guyana remains on tier one of the US State Department annual report. Commissioner of Police Leslie James said he wants the country to remain at this position. However, he noted that where there is work to be done, the police force will spare no effort in helping to wipe out the scourge completely.
“Our immigration department is also part of the exercise. They have been sensitised, had training. The GPF is also part of the ministerial taskforce to deal with trafficking in persons.”
Statistics so far for this year show 144 victims from 21 reported cases. Of this amount, 142 persons were exploited sexually. The police have had 30 charges with eight convictions.
Commissioner James cautioned ranks to pay special attention to vehicles, as victims are most frequently transported to or from the place of exploitation
“You, the traffic ranks mainly, are the persons that will engage regularly with the motorists, persons driving trucks and closed vehicles… There is a high possibility that persons, in their quest to traffic persons, may have people kept in enclosed vehicles and traversing our roadways,” explained Commissioner James. [Department of Public Information]