Guyana launches new initive to deal with Trafficking in Persons

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan 18, CMC – Guyana Wednesday launched its latest offensive against human trafficking with President David Granger indicating that his administration is collaborating with other stakeholders to deal with the situation.
“The Government of Guyana today is committed to reversing this indifference towards the crime of trafficking in persons. We will do so by enhancing education and strengthening enforcement in order to eliminate the scourge entirely.
“The government of Guyana today, is solving the problem and not suppressing bad news. We are successfully prosecuting traffickers and we are collaborating with counter trafficking non-governmental organizations and international organizations,” Granger told the launch of the National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Response to Trafficking in Persons (2017-2018).
Granger said government’s efforts would include the provision of a shelter, and psych-social services to victims. He told the ceremony that from this year wardens would be deployed to go after those engaged in human trafficking.
 “We have this year started the establishment of a corps of wardens and these wardens would be going into mining and logging settlements and along border areas where trafficking has been prevalent,” he said.
He said his government would continue to strengthen agencies that deal with human trafficking reminding the audience that when he was Opposition Leader he had introduced a motion in the National assembly to establish a Commission of Inquiry into human trafficking.
Granger said that although, the parliament passed the motion, it never got the full support of the then government.
“The previous administration’s efforts to combat Trafficking In Persons were often rejected with notorious indifference or indecisiveness to the crime. The seriousness of the crime was de-emphasised. Few efforts were made to combat trafficking in a systematic way,” he said.
Social Protection Minister, Amna Ally, said Guyana has had “enough” regarding the trafficking in persons and the time had come to deal with the situation.
She said her ministry would be playing a key role in the efforts by sensitizing communities and ensuring that victims of human trafficking are provided with the support they need.
Under the National Plan of Action, there will be more training of law enforcement officers, more public awareness will be raised as well as safety measures being put in place to protect and reintegrate human trafficking victims.
Additionally, the task force will also be focusing on strengthening the capacity of prosecutors who will have to deal with cases as well as to build greater investigation skills to facilitate raids and rescue missions.
In recent years, the United States has been critical of Guyana’s efforts in dealing with the trafficking in persons. But Washington has noted the improvements over the last two years, moving the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country from its watch list to a tier two ranking.
US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway said the ranking recognizes the efforts of the government, the Trafficking in Persons Task Force, the TiP Unit and the judiciary in combatting the “modern-day” form of slavery.
“As always, the embassy stands prepared to assist the government in the core areas of TIP- prevention, prosecution and protection”, the diplomat said, adding that Washington would be funding the visit of 50-member team of experts from the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to train front-line government officials and others who are engaged in the daily fight against human trafficking.

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