Public Security human trafficking task force not resting on its laurels

The Ministry of Public Security’s Task Force aimed at the lucrative criminal enterprise of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) is not resting on its laurels, despite its recent elevation to Tier One status in the United States Department of State’s 2017 TIP Report.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the Task Force is in the process of implementing a 2017-2018 National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Response to Trafficking in Persons and has recently completed a number of activities in this regard. These include a number of training and ‘sensitization’ courses across the country in regions One, Three, Four, Five, Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten, where participants included anti-TIP stakeholders, toshaos, police officers, community development officers, teachers, dredge owners, village councillors, secondary school students, communities and public-spirited citizens.

Participants were briefed on the government’s commitment to investing resources and collaborating with other stakeholders to reform and strengthen current strategies and to implement new strategies to effectively combat the ever-changing schemes of traffickers, the MPS statement said. Topics presented included TIP victim identification, the role and responsibilities of the Task Force, and services available for victims in Guyana. Police officers were brought update on the ‘Best practices for the investigation of TIP cases’ whilst toshaos and councillors from Region Nine were sensitized on their rights and responsibilities under the Sexual Offences Act, the Domestic Act, the Labour Act and Combatting Trafficking in Persons Act. The latter being conducted in conjunction with the ministries of Social Protection and Indigenous People’s Affairs.

According to the MPS media release, TIP is the third most lucrative criminal enterprise, along with arms and drugs, and it is perpetuated throughout the globe, with Guyana, unfortunately, not being an exception. However, the Government of Guyana is not daunted this task and remains committed through the MPS and several other department and agencies including the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and various ministries to thwarting the efforts of this criminal activity.

The Task Force is inviting public-spirited citizens and other entities to get onboard. Persons can call the Task Force Secretariat at 226-5306 or the TIP Hotline at 227-4083/623-5030 to share suggestions on how the Task Force can improve its efforts or for a discussion on how it can collaborate to increase existing efforts to combat trafficking in persons.  Government Agencies, Businesses, Non-Governmental Organizations, Youth Groups, Religious Organizations or any other Organizations/Groups that would like staff/members to undergo a sensitization exercise or workshop, are asked to communicate same to the numbers shared above. In the new year, members of the public will have an opportunity to become ‘TIP Volunteers’ – more information will be shared in this regard at a later date.

 The Task Force encourages everyone to help by following these steps: (1) Get educated on TIP – Learn how to protect yourself and loved ones (2) Know how to identify a victim of TIP (3) Share your newfound knowledge with others (4) Be Observant (5) Safety First, don’t try to save the day if you see something suspicious (6) Report the suspicious situation to the TIP Hotline at 227-4083/623-5030 or send email to counter_traffickinginpersons@yahoo.com including as many details as possible – Calls to the TIP Hotline are confidential. 

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