National TIP Task Force Report - June 2008

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1)Combating trafficking in persons is beyond any doubt an important objective of the Government of Guyana as this report would indicate. The purpose of this report is to present measures adopted by the Government of Guyana to reduce trafficking in persons.

2)The commitment by government to make resources available to maintain law and order is evidenced in the 2006 and 2007 Budgets where over $9.9 billion (US$49.3 M) and $10.3 billion (US$51.6 M) respectively were allocated to the public safety sector. In addition, to accomplish its social services objectives the Government allocated $24.3 billion (US$121.4 M) in its 2006 Budget and $23.7 billion (US$118.3 M) in its 2007 budget to the social services sector. These amounts emphasise Government’s new thrust to complement Law Enforcement strategy with a robust social prevention approach.

3)Guyana is a signatory to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Trans-National Organised Crime. All forms of trafficking in persons are prohibited in Guyana through the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 2005.

4)A crucial component of the Government’s overall strategy is the formation of an Inter-Agency National Task Force and the development of a National Plan of Action to combat trafficking in persons. The Minister of Home Affairs is the Chairman of the Task Force which meets regularly to address issues relating to the suppression of trafficking in persons. Such issues comprise all aspects of trafficking such as sex trafficking and labour trafficking.

5)The National Task Force for Combating Trafficking in Persons instituted measures to collect data on the occurrence of trafficking in persons, in which limited information on the victim, offender and circumstances surrounding the offence are collected, corroborated and analysed to arrive at a clearer understanding of the phenomenon.

6)There were eight (8) corroborated reports of trafficking in persons violations involving ten (10) victims, for the year 2007. All the corroborated case data involved individuals who were trafficked internally.

7)The Government of Guyana through the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security has continued with awareness raising and training programmes. Training and awareness-raising programmes included distribution of media kits, documentaries, guidelines for interviewing victims, and a guide to the underlying principles in working with victims.

8)Training programmes of this nature will be continued in the coming year. Collaboration between the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security and the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs has resulted in training programmes conducted at the Amerindian Hostel. These programmes targeted representatives from hinterland communities and were aimed at increasing their awareness and understanding of trafficking in persons, reporting on what is being done to help stop this form of human slavery and enlisting their support for government’s efforts to stamp out this inhumane phenomenon.

9)The Task Force has set up an Inter-Agency National Referral System, which comprise focal points in agencies that are part of the national effort to eradicate trafficking in persons. The Focal Person is the first point of contact for any trafficking in persons’ concern brought to the attention of that Ministry/Agency, and will liaise with their counterparts in other Ministries/Agencies. Victim identification has been enhanced by the National Referral System, which has created strong inter-agency partnerships.

10)Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Task Force has been able to initiate bilateral discussion on issues related to trafficking in persons with Barbados and Brazil. The objective of this process is to foster cooperation and information exchange to tackle trafficking networks.

11)The long-term goals in the counter trafficking struggle are to generate a society-wide recognition of the problem, to scale-up victim protection services and to prosecute offenders.

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