Guyana off US watch list on TIP- Activist calls for police to do more


After years of being accused of not doing enough in the fight against Trafficking in Persons, Guyana was moved from a Tier 2 Watch List to just Tier Two in the United States latest TIP report.


For the last three consecutive years, Guyana was placed on the Tier 2 Watch List ranking, which meant Guyana lacked the ability to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.


During an interview on Friday, Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources Simona Broomes who is a strong activist against Trafficking in Persons says TIP is a crime and Police should take the lead role when dealing with such issues.


“I think that the police still needs to come where the police are the leading persons with TIP because it’s a crime. The police have to take the lead, just like how you have units that deals with Drugs and all of that” Broomes said.


The United States report on Trafficking in Persons around the world covering April 1 last year through March 31 this year, was released on Thursday by US Secretary of State, John Kerry.


The Minster said her government has already seen the need to have all Ministries play their integral role in addressing the problem of trafficking.


“I think it is really good for us that we have already start to move in that direction and it is because of the commitment and the seriousness of the government that we have already start to move in that direction” she said.


The 2016 TIP report is recommending that Guyana continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute sex and labour trafficking cases and hold accountable including complicit officials. It also points to the need for additional protection for victims to enable them to appear in court and testify against traffickers in a what that does not further endanger them.


Guyana was once a recipient of that award when the State Department in 2013 recognized the work Simona Broomes who was at time the President and founder of the Guyana Women Miners Organization (GWO).


The report alluded TIP in hinterland communities to “limited government presence in the country’s interior.” It was noted that the Government of Guyana does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.


The The government convicted one trafficker, imposed a three-year prison sentence, and required her to pay the victim restitution—the first time restitution has been ordered for a trafficking offender in Guyana. The government also provided 600,000 Guyanese dollars (GYD) ($2,970) to an NGO-run shelter dedicated to trafficking victims—the first shelter of its kind in Guyana—to enhance the shelter’s psycho-social services for victims.


The administration further increased collaboration with anti-trafficking NGOs by instituting procedures to refer victims to the shelter and including a leading anti-trafficking NGO on its inter-ministerial anti-trafficking taskforce. However, it did not allocate additional personnel to the severely understaffed anti-trafficking unit to facilitate trafficking investigations, nor did it increase protection and services for victims outside the capital or participating in investigations against their traffickers.


It continued to prosecute and punish suspected trafficking victims for crimes committed as a result of being subjected to trafficking and increased protection efforts. However victim assistance remained insufficient, especially in areas outside the capital and for male victims, and the government continued to penalize some suspected trafficking victims.


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