Commissioner of Police (ag), Nigel Hoppie on Thursday revealed that the Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) unit rescued over 600 victims of human trafficking in the span of about three years and a number of perpetrators have been placed before the courts.
Hoppie noted that from 2018 to date, a total of 632 victims of human trafficking, including women and children, were rescued, of which, the majority were foreign nationals from Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. These cases were either reported or recorded from raids conducted.
For the three year period, 58 cases were placed before the courts of which there are six convictions to date. The Police Commissioner explained that in some instances, the victims get frustrated and do not wish to pursue the case or sometimes, they leave the jurisdiction.
“Some of these cases would still be before the court or there needs some examination to determine whether or not there is need for some enhancing in the prosecutorial aspects of the TIP fight.
“Though there continues to be reasonable success, one victim is one too many and one perpetrator not being prosecuted successfully is also one too many.” the Police Commissioner on Thursday during at a training session for police sergeants, held at the Officers Training Centre in Eve Leary, Georgetown.
The Police Sergeants were trained on how to spot victims of human trafficking in Guyana and where, how and why it is necessary to report any suspected acts of human trafficking. The training was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security.
Earlier in the year, the TIP unit recommended the training of law enforcement officials and front-line responders in the areas of written trauma-informed victim identification and referral procedures.
Officials in charge of the unit had said they had insufficient human resources to adequately combat human trafficking.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud, who was also at the training session, revealed that unless there is intervention at every level, this scourge to humanity will not go away.
She explained that reporting of this heinous crime remains an issue and she hopes that with the training received, the officers will be better able to respond in a more humane way.
“Trafficking in person is not something that is always hidden, sometimes it happens in the open and sometimes it is there before our eyes, so the question is how do we ramp up reporting? How can we get people to report and how can we intervene effectively,” the Minister said.
When persons are trafficked, they are either exploited sexually, financially or forced into labour.
While Guyana maintains its Tier Ine status on US State Department ranking on successfully combating trafficking in persons, the Guyana Police Force was urged to continue collaborative efforts so members of the police force can be trained in various social issues.