The main opposition APNU has congratulated President of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) Simona Broomes on her being recognised as one of the 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report Heroes by US Secretary of State John Kerry..
“APNU is cognizant of the courageous stand and the commitment that Ms. Broomes and her organisation have demonstrated in the fight against trafficking in persons,” the coalition said in a statement on Thursday, while saluting her on “her leadership and heroism (sometimes at great personal risk to life and limb) in the fight against modern- day slavery.”
The US Embassy said that Broomes had demonstrated “extraordinary bravery and leadership” in raising awareness about human trafficking in Guyana. “From a small group of women banding together to solve common challenges, the GWMO has become a recognized force in combating trafficking in persons and promoting equality and economic opportunities for women in Guyana. Ms. Broomes is a consistently powerful, vocal advocate against TIP and continues to take direct action – often at great personal risk – to protect and assist victims of trafficking,” it noted in a statement.
APNU said that trafficking in persons, especially under-aged girls, is a grave human right violation that continues to fester, especially in hinterland mining communities. As a result, it renewed the call made in the National Assembly by its leader David Granger for a Commission of Inquiry (COI) into human trafficking.
“APNU continues to advocate for the Ministry of Human Services, the Geology and Mines Commission, the Guyana Police Force and all other relevant government agencies to urgently develop a coordinated plan and implementation programme, well supported with the needed resources, to rescue and protect the victims of people trafficking, especially minors who are subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse,” it added.
According to the 2013 US State Department report on human trafficking, enough is still not being done by the government to effectively address the situation and it has recommended that the administration hold offenders accountable with jail time.
The National Assembly last month approved a motion, brought by Granger, for the appointment of a COI into allegations of human trafficking, to determine the extent of the situation and to make recommendations for the suppression and abolition of the unlawful trade. The opposition APNU and AFC used their majority to pass the motion, in the face of resistance by government, which said that an inquiry was not needed. It is remains to be seen if President Donald Ramotar will move to set up the COI, however the Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons said it “will only result in duplication of efforts and a waste of resources.”