Guyana on Tier 2 of Trafficking in Persons

– 2011 report cites rhetoric, official complicity

Guyana is listed as a Tier 2 country in the US Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report, and is identified as a source and destination country for “men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking” and forced labour.

“Continued rhetoric from higher levels of the government minimizing the potential scope of human trafficking, poor results in the area of victim protection, and lack of action against official complicity of human trafficking are major obstacles to future progress,” the report, released today, said about Guyana.

According to the report, the Government of Guyana does not “fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.”

It stated that officials achieved an important milestone during the year — the first conviction of a trafficking offender — and there was new information that some public servants, including mining officials, made efforts to try to rescue potential victims.

The 2011 TIP report on Guyana indicated that there are identified cases of human trafficking in the country during this reporting period generally involving women and girls in forced prostitution.

“Guyanese nationals have been subjected to forced prostitution and forced labour in other countries in the region. People in domestic service in Guyana are vulnerable to human trafficking, and instances of the common Guyanese practice of poor, rural families sending children to live with higher-income family members or acquaintances in more populated areas sometimes transforms into domestic servitude,” the report further added.

It stated that other groups particularly vulnerable to human trafficking in Guyana include women in prostitution, children working in hazardous conditions, and foreign workers. Guyanese from rural, economically depressed areas are particularly vulnerable to trafficking in mining areas and urban centres.

“Trafficking victims in Guyana face disincentives to self-identify to authorities due to fear of retribution from trafficking offenders, fear of resettlement to abusive home situations, fear of arrest, and lack of awareness that human trafficking is a crime,” the report said.

The 184-country report is the most comprehensive worldwide review of government efforts to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons, a modern form of slavery. Its findings are intended to raise global awareness and spur government action against all forms of trafficking in persons.

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