Suspected trafficked Haitians found at hotel are all adults; police to arrest enablers
Five days after the Guyana Government claimed that 10 Haitian juvenile nationals were found at a Skeldon, Corentyne, Berbice hotel under the suspicion of being trafficked, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall now says that authorities have verified that the five men and five women are all adults and above the age of 18.
“They turned out not to be children,” Nandlall said during a telephone interview with the News Room on Tuesday. The News Room understands that one of the Haitians is pregnant.
Nandlall explained that at the request of the Haitians to be kept together, they are being housed at the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration under the direct care of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security.
They have been in constant engagements with the police as efforts are ramped up to arrest the suspected traffickers who brought the Haitians illegally into Guyana and left them at the hotel for several days before they were found.
The person who brought them reportedly took away their passports, documents, money and other personal belongings.
“The police are in the process of recovering those travel documents,” Nandlall said.
Once the documents are recovered, a decision will be made to have the nationals vacate Guyana, the Attorney General further explained.
Asked about the intention of the enablers, the Attorney General told the News Room that “from all indications, it is a human trafficking ring.”
To this end, he said the government will do what it must to curb this.
The Haitians reportedly claimed that they were brought from Suriname by speedboat and left at the hotel on Monday, 14th June, 2021.
“It has long been suspected that there is a huge trafficking in persons and human smuggling ring, including children, taking place in the Region and Guyana is being used as a transit point in this racket, which includes Cubans, Nigerians and Haitians, among others.
“This is the latest manifestation of this nefarious racket at work which seems to be operating on a daily basis,” the Attorney General Chambers had said in an earlier statement.
The Brazilian Government has already expressed concern about the situation. The Surinamese Government has also shared intelligence which suggests that the racket extends to that neighbouring Republic.
The Government of Guyana has already engaged the Cuban Ambassador to Guyana on this issue. It is believed that these persons, including children, are being trafficked to various parts of the world.
Only two weeks ago, the police arrested a number of Haitians, Nigerians and Cubans in close vicinity to Lethem, Region 9. Some of these persons did not have entry stamps in their passports in relation to Guyana.
In the circumstances, the Government of Guyana says it feels compelled to inform the relevant international agencies dealing with human trafficking and smuggling of persons, including children.
The Government of Guyana will also immediately review its immigration protocols and impose such lawful restrictions and conditions that it considers necessary in the circumstances.