142 persons trafficked for sex in 2019
The Guyana Police Force has recorded 21 cases of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) for 2019 thus far.
This number accounts for 144 victims of which 12 were Guyanese, four were Dominicans, three Cubans and 124 were Venezuelans, according to Police Commissioner Leslie James.
Of this number, 142 persons were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Speaking at the opening of a one-day training on human trafficking for traffic ranks at Cara Lodge, in Georgetown, the Top Cop revealed that the main form of trafficking was found to be sexual exploitation.
“I would emphasize this , 142 of those persons, we found that they were exploited sexually. One person was exploited for labour purpose and made to work under slave-like conditions,” the Police Commissioner said.
“To date, we’ve had 30 charges with eight convictions. In terms of suspects, we’ve had 33 males and seventeen females…both genders based on this information, are involved.”
Thursday’s training was the first targeting traffic officers.
Coordinator of the Counter TIP Unit, Tanisha Williams-Corbin pointed said it is important to train the ranks to spot the victims so that they are able to assist and appropriately refer suspected cases.
“Victims of trafficking in Guyana, given our geographical makeup, must traverse our roadways at some point, whether it’s to or from their places of exploitation or to journey to provide some service or to receive some service,” she noted.
The majority of the TIP victims are foreign nationals which pose a challenge to successful prosecutions since they often time request to return to their homeland before the trial concludes.
Earlier this year, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan reported that the authorities are working to implement a witness protection programme so that the victims can stay until their cases are prosecuted, but it could be very costly as the trials sometimes take years.
Guyana is ranked Tier 1 on the US State Department report on TIP as a result of its efforts to tackle the scourge.