Suspected trafficked women, children in protective care; perpetrators in custody
Suspected victims and survivors of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) are never placed in police custody, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security clarified in a statement on Sunday.
It came after the Guyana Police Force released a statement on Saturday, in which it said that 49 persons were detained and placed in custody following a human trafficking operation conducted on Friday night at a well-known guest house and hotel in Parika, East Bank Essequibo.
The Ministry has sought to clarify that all suspected victims from that operation are instead safeguarded by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Unit.
“On November 13, an operation conducted by members of the Guyana Police Force with support from the Human Services Ministry rescued 19 adult females suspected to be victims of human trafficking from an establishment in Region three (3). Three children were also rescued,” the Ministry’s statement noted.
The women and children are now in the protective care of the Ministry, while the perpetrators are in police custody.
“It is apt to note that the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2005 guarantees the safety and protection of all victims and ensure their rights are respected and not violated,” the statement further added.
According to the police force, the exercise was conducted in the Parika area where searches were conducted at Mottie Guest House. There, the police encountered a total of nine women from Venezuela. They were all arrested.
The team then conducted searches at Razon Hotel, where several rooms were searched and 14 males and 26 women, including two children, all from Venezuela, were arrested.
The men were placed into custody at the Parfaite Harmonie Police Station on the West Bank of Demerara and the women were placed in custody at the Cove and John Police Station on the East Coast of Demerara.
Members of the public are encouraged to report all suspicious TIP activities to the Ministry’s TIP hotline numbers 227-4083, 623-5030 or 624-0079 (Spanish hotline). Persons can also visit TIP Guyana Facebook page.