‘Silence is violence and we must speak out’ says Chair of Ministerial Task Force on TIP

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By Mark Murray

Chair of the Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons KhemrajRamjattan believes “silence is violence and we must speak out,” if the issue of human trafficking is to be tackled by each member and stakeholder in society.

Chair of the Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons KhemrajRamjattan believes “silence is violence and we must speak out,” if the issue of human trafficking is to be tackled by each member and stakeholder in society.

The Public Security Minister was at the time speaking at the launch of a two-year National Plan of Action for the prevention and response to Trafficking in Persons on Wednesday by the Task Force.

Ramjattan said the Action Plan will also assist the local law enforcement agencies to take on the issue but it is a job that will require the support of others. He told the audience that “this crime and corruption is not a culture, it is a choice, and a choice we must halt.”

The Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons Chair added that “people must not be stuck in the cycle of negativity and lost hope; we have to dream that this job can be done, this job of halting trafficking, halting violence in all forms and crime in all its ugly forms.”

For years Guyana is being identified by the US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report as a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. For 2016, Guyana’s ranking in that report has improved causing the country to move up from the Watchlist to Tier 2.

The Minister said the 2017-2018 plan of action which focuses on prevention, prosecution, protection, and partnership is “a continuation of our effort to initiate what is internationally accepted and combining that with investing in what is locally applicable.”

Ramjattan is also of the view that with an increased level of awareness on the issue, the plan can get victims and families to speak out.

It is being reported by the Counter-Trafficking Unit that 44.2 percent of Trafficking in Persons would have occurred during the last three years in Region Four followed by Region Seven.

In 2015, two individuals who were found guilty by the Courts for human trafficking were convicted as a majority of the TIP victims were mainly non-nationals who were rescued.

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