Women miners discuss trafficking in persons, other issues with US Ambassador

Leader of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) Simona Broomes says her organisation has faced a number of challenges in its response to issues such as trafficking in persons (TIP) and forced prostitution in mining communities and is seeking ways to strengthen its network of support.

She was speaking at a recent meeting with US Ambassador D Brent Hardt.

Broomes and other leaders of the GWMO met the ambassador and other embassy officials on Wednesday, a press release from the US Embassy said. She told the meeting that the GWMO has also encountered difficulties securing financing and accessing credit, establishing guidelines for conflict resolution and addressing issues of abuse.

Leaders of the GWMO Judith Blair and Carol Elliot-Fredrick (second and third from left), US Ambassador D Brent Hardt (centre) and other embassy officials after a meeting on Wednesday.

In response, Hardt praised the GWMO’s efforts to assist victims of TIP, observing that meeting this challenge requires active engagement and collaboration of dedicated NGOs  such as the Miners Association working in close cooperation with the government and international community. He noted, as [US] President [Barack] Obama has stated, that the United States “stand(s) with those throughout the world who are working every day to end modern slavery, bring traffickers to justice, and empower survivors to reclaim their rightful freedom.”

The ambassador also said that trafficking is a global problem and that close collaboration with grassroots organisations such as the GWMO in combination with a victim-centred approach, will help ensure that every man, woman and child is free from being trafficked. He also assured Broomes that the US Embassy looks forward to supporting GWMO’s interaction with its network of TIP partner organisations and institutions in order to more comprehensively address this crime.

The GWMO also expressed interest in participating in training opportunities and workshops for HIV/AIDS and gender issues. As an organisation that promotes gender equality in a sector that has traditionally been dominated by men, the GWMO conveyed its eagerness to learn more as well as share its insights.

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