Bar owner jailed for trafficking teenager

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Jagetram Hariram, a Bar Owner on the East Coast of Demerara, was sentenced to three years imprisonment on Thursday, January 04 and fined $100,000 for the recruitment, transportation and harbouring of a fourteen (14) year old, for the purpose of labour exploitation.

A statement from the Ministry of Social Protection on Friday noted that this is the first case of conviction this year for Trafficking in Persons. The Ministry said that the act occurred between February 1, 2016, and March 18, 2016.

“This is a testament to the commitment of the Ministry of Social Protection, led by the Honourable Amna Ally, Minister of Social Protection, to purge Guyana from the notoriety associated with being a known source and destination country for which men, women and children are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour,” the statement noted.

According to the statement, the Counter – Trafficking in Persons Department of the Ministry of Social Protection has aggressively tackled human trafficking through training, sensitization and awareness campaigns and providing victim support services to survivors of human trafficking in 2017 and commenced implementation of its 2018 work program which is designed to bridge the remaining gaps and continue to build on the achievements of 2018.

According to the Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2004 forced labour is defined as “labour or services obtained or maintained through force, threat of force or means of coercion or physical restraint.”  The act defines a minor as any person below the age of 18. After being ranked on the United States’ Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report as a tier two (2) country for three consecutive years 2013-2015, on the 27th June, 2017 Guyana was reclassified to tier one (1) status; being a tier one (1) country means the Government has fully met the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards.

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