Still much more to be done to fight human trafficking

-Ramjattan

Khemraj Ramjattan

Despite Guyana retaining the Tier 1 ranking for its efforts towards combating Trafficking in Persons (TIP), Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan yesterday said recommendations to address shortcomings from the recently released US State Department 2018 Report will not go unnoticed since much more needs to be done.

“At this point, it was recognized that this did not mean that Guyana had conquered the crime of TIP by any stretch of the imagination; rather, each anti-TIP agent in Guyana was urged to treat the promotion as motivation to maintain a high level of effort and efficiency in their work in areas where success was achieved and to strive for improvement where necessary,” Ramjattan told reporters yesterday while delivering a statement in response to the report. 

He explained that while the Ministry is satisfied in maintaining the Tier 1 ranking, the recommendations in the report did not go unnoticed.

“In some of the mentioned areas, such as those pertaining to training, identification procedures and victim services outside the capital, improvement has already started. In others, such as with regard to an increase in the rate of conviction, there is much more to be done,” Ramjattan noted.

He said in the previous installment of the TIP report, Guyana had been elevated to Tier 1 for the first time. “I am happy today to say that these agents would have listened to this charge and that their efforts were recognized in the US State Department’s TIP report through Guyana’s continued placement on Tier 1,” Ramjattan said. He added that having overseen the work of the Task Force last year, its members along with other anti-TIP stakeholders had worked diligently to assemble a 2017-2018 National TIP Action Plan and begin its implementation.

The combined efforts, Ramjattan said, have resulted in an increase in attempts to prevent the crime and to protect those victimized through it.

The undertakings included the provision of training for police investigators, police prosecutors and immigration officers, media personnel, community policing members, toshaos, village councillors and other frontline officials.

Awareness sessions were also held in schools and communities throughout the various regions, he said.

Additionally, subventions to shelters were increased and a shelter was extended outside the capital, Ramjattan noted, while adding the collaborations were commenced with international organisations that will eventually see to it that current procedures and information sharing mechanisms are strengthened and that training is standardised.

“The police on the other hand has also strived meaningfully to investigate TIP Reports, despite challenges.  The Government of Guyana sustained its efforts to ensure that anti-TIP interventions were well funded, primarily through the Task Force, the Ministry of Social Protection, Guyana Police Force and Guyana Geology and Mines Commission,” he added.

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