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Guyana saw 98 reported cases of Trafficking in 2016; Hosts International Meeting on Counter-Trafficking

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In Guyana, Trafficking in Persons is mostly focused in Hinterland Regions, whether persons are being trafficked across the borders or from the coast into those Regions. According to Advisor to the Minister of Social Protection, Alicia Jerome-Reece, Guyana has seen a continual increase in the reports of Trafficking over the past three years.

Advisor to the Minister of Social Protection, Alicia Jerome-Reece

She was at the time addressing a gathering being hosted at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown where representatives from 60 countries are meeting to share their experiences on Countering Trafficking in Humans and Smuggling of Migrants.

Reece said, “this is believed to be largely due to the heightened awareness and education campaign on the issue.” She disclosed that in 2014, there were 40 identified victims, 59 in 2015 and 98 in 2016.

She added that the Ministry has been doing a number of things to enhance safety and security, to prevent the unregulated inflow of illegal migrants.

The ‘Peer-to-Peer Exchange Meeting’ which will take place over the course of three days, brings together stakeholders involved in the International Organisation for Migration (IOM’s) “ACP-EU Migration Action”, programme.

According to Head of Political, Press and Information of the European Union Delegation here, Derek Lambe, the aim of the meeting is to facilitate the exchange of good practices and lessons learnt in the area of trafficking. This he said, will aid in developing a shared understanding of the main challenges that Governments face and strengthen cooperation in these areas.

Head of Political, Press and Information-European Union Delegation, Derek Lambe

Recalling the EU’s strong commitment to fighting Trafficking of Human Beings, he noted that “there remain important challenges that require complex responses across different policy areas. By fighting against organised crime, Caribbean irregular migration, strengthening border management, addressing corruption and improving assistance to victims, protecting vulnerable groups and implementing  effective prevention policies.”

IOM’s Rosilyne Borland, who is facilitating the event, said, “this is an excellent opportunity to learn from the experiences of experts from these three regions in preventing and responding to both trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, including protection of victims and migrants who have suffered human rights abuses.”

In 2005, Guyana passed the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act in the National Assembly which prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties ranging from three years to life imprisonment.

In 2016, several persons were taken to the Court and in some cases charged for engaging in Trafficking of persons.

The IOM agency has recorded 7,800 migrants death for 2016 which is a 27 percent increase compared to 2015.

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