Human trafficking awareness campaign wraps with Region Eight outreach

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) hosted the last session of the anti-Trafficking in Persons awareness campaign in Region Eight over the weekend.

The sensitisation sessions, which started 20 months ago and were sponsored by the UNDP, concluded at the Micobie Village Benab in Region Eight on Sunday, a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said. Sessions were also held at Mahdia in Region Eight over the weekend.

A team comprising Patrick Findlay and Karen van Sluytman of the ministry, and UNDP official Trevor Benn started the sessions by determining the extent of residents’ knowledge about human trafficking.

The team then explained the different ways in which persons could be tricked into being trafficked and exploited and presented profiles of traffickers. Participants were also given legal explanations about trafficking provided in the ‘The Combating Trafficking of Persons Act of 2005.’ The facilitators also discussed the misunderstanding surrounding the misuse of the term trafficking and real life situations of exploitation were examined in detail to deepen participants’ knowledge about the issue, during the interactive sessions. The team focused on children as special cases and gave the group pointers to help them to identify traffickers. Participants were also told of the availability of support for victims and they were urged to share their knowledge with others.

In his presentation, Benn, who monitored the sessions, spoke about the numerous challenges around the world regarding human trafficking. He also pointed out that in Guyana the hinterland communities are more likely to be targeted, hence the importance of reaching out. In his remarks, Findlay urged the participants to apply what they learnt and to inform others in their communities.

According to GINA, participants were grateful for the sessions.

Resident Cordel Edwards said he found the session enlightening and of great value to his community. Similarly, Molly Edwards pledged to share what she learnt with those who were absent as well as her children. Other beneficiaries, including Toshao of Micobie Julie Johnson, also voiced support for the programme.

At the close of the sessions, the moderators conducted a walk-about in the mining areas to discuss the issue with miners.

GINA said similar sessions were held over the Easter weekend in Region Nine at Shulinab, St Ignatius and Moco Moco. These sessions focused on helping residents to understand the effects of smuggling, child labour and trafficking in persons.  A booth was also erected at the Rupununi Rodeo to raise awareness about the issue.

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