Increase in child labour recorded for 2017
Of 131 trafficking victims identified in 2017, eight were under the age of 12.
The US State Department’s Trafficking In Persons (TIP) 2018 report, covering the period April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018, was released on Thursday.
According to the report, of the cases reported, 65 sex trafficking victims were identified, 35 victims trafficked for labour and 31 for both forms.
Acting Coordinator of the Ministerial Taskforce on Trafficking In Persons, Oliver Profitt at a press conference on Friday disclosed that of the majority of cases reported, the victims were found in Region Four. This, he said, could be as a result of the region’s population density.
The second highest number of victims originated from Regions One and Seven, followed by Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
However, when questioned about children being trafficked for labour, Profitt disclosed that eight victims were found to be under the age of 12– a major increase since only one such case was recorded from 2014 to 2016.
The Coordinator (ag) told News Room that some of the reports were made through the Guyana Police Force while others were made by civilians who were suspicious and called the TIP hotline. He added that the children were all found to be Guyanese who were moved from one region to another.
Following investigations, the victims are placed in the care of the Child Care and Protection Agency or at a shelter for TIP victims.
“There are also sometimes foster care arrangements that are made,” he added.
Profitt acknowledged that there may be more cases which are not reported.
“I don’t know how much our statistics actually reflect the situation in terms of minors. Obviously, they (statistics) would have been well put together but we would have gotten some information that the numbers might have been more than we recorded,” he said.
However, Guyana once again achieved Tier 1 status due to efforts being taken by the government to eliminate the scourge.
The Ministerial Taskforce on TIP on welcomed the report and also took the time to thank persons who would have assisted in the fight against TIP.
The US report criticized the decrease in the prosecution of offenders but the taskforce promised that systems are being put in place to ensure more convictions.
One of the recommendations made by the US State Department include the finalization of written identification procedures to better guide law enforcement officials, train more law enforcement, judiciary officials, and front-line responders.
Profitt said the document which simplifies the TIP Act is being drafted and will be completed in the second half of 2018.
Other recommendations include more funding for specialized victim services outside the capital, effective monitoring of cases reported and training for diplomatic personnel on trafficking