New hand signal to report human trafficking in Guyana
Clasping your fingers into your palm and releasing them in a repeated motion three times is the new vital hand signal launched by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to counter human trafficking.
Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud said the signal was developed so the public can be aware of when someone is being trafficked.
“I thought that sometimes people are not able to transmit the message that they are being trafficked. People are not able to say to somebody: ‘I need help’, but if we develop a hand symbol that is simple it could help,” Dr Persaud said at the Counter–Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) walk and rally held on Friday.
She explained that sometimes human trafficking is happening “right in front of us” but is it not recognised because of language barriers or the victims are simply unable to say they are in danger.
“In many cases, people are trafficked for years and in many places, they remain in the clutches of a perpetrator who shows no remorse and only callousness to continue to do this,” Dr Persaud said.
The C-TIP walk started at Church Street and commenced with an exhibition on Main Street in Georgetown. Persons involved wore something blue which signaled their stance against TIP.
“What we are doing here today sets the tone for the rest of the year and for Guyana as a whole where we stand firmly against all forms of trafficking in person,” Dr Persaud said.
The minister related that when persons are trafficked they are robbed of human rights, their freedom and every opportunity that they have for self-development.
Dr Persaud also called for a more coordinated approach against TIP.
“Which means every agency, every department, every ministry, every private sector entity [and] every mission we need to stand and not only raise our voices against TIP, but we need to encourage persons to report it that is the only way we can help someone who is being trafficked.”
“This is not a one man, a one woman or one agency battle, it is a battle that should involve anyone,” Dr Persaud added.
Reporting TIP in Guyana has been made more accessible with the hotline – 592 STOP and also includes Spanish and Portuguese responders.
Guyana has managed to retain its Tier 1 ranking in TIP over the past three years but Dr Persaud is aiming to have more convictions.
“I want to appeal to all of you, let us try to see if we can have more convictions, this is the one thing we need to work the hardest in,” Dr Persaud said while explaining that when persons are trafficked and rescued there is a level of fear, insecurity and uncertainty.
She added: “we need to bolster their confidence; we need to provide support so that they can confront those perpetrators.”