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– 25 suspects were ensnared
Managers, Inspectors and Compliance Officers of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) last week benefitted from a two-day virtual Trafficking in Persons Victim Identification and Referral training programme.
The objective of the training programme was to equip inspectors and compliance officers from the NIS who are actively involved in the area of monitoring and compliance, both in the private and public sectors, with the requisite knowledge and skills to prevent, respond and report potential acts of human trafficking, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.
Minister of Home Affairs and Chairman of the Ministerial Task Force on TIP, Robeson Benn who delivered opening remarks disclosed that between January and August 2020, the Guyana Police Force investigated nineteen suspected cases of TIP in which there were seventy alleged victims and twenty-seven suspects. The Minister said these cases originated from Regions Three, Four, Seven and Nine. Fifty-Nine of the alleged victims were females and 11 males. He disclosed also that 45 of the alleged victims were Venezuelan, 10 Haitians and 11 Guyanese. The victims were being exploited for sex and labour.
Benn said the current data presented by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) may not be an accurate reflection of the existing situation, because of the difficulties and complexities of identifying TIP particularly in hinterland locations.
He said that it is because of the complexities related to TIP that there is need for officers to be trained from all administrative regions. Their training would serve to increase vigilance in both urban and rural communities while executing their mandate.
The Minister expressed appreciation to the United States Government for the US$5million aimed at assisting the Government of Guyana with its support towards Venezuelan migrants, one of the most vulnerable groups which records the highest number of alleged victims of TIP in Guyana.
Meanwhile, NIS General Manager Ms. Holly Greaves, described TIP as illegal, inhumane, and morally degrading. Greaves said TIP, a global crime, affects men, women and children, while insisting that everyone has a role to play and an obligation to act.
She noted the value of partnerships, information sharing and coordination in TIP adding that the training programme provided an opportunity to better understand the problem human trafficking, and to develop strong legal, policy and law enforcement response.
Participants were drawn from NIS offices in Central Georgetown, Essequibo, Pouderoyen, Lethem, Mabaruma, Corriverton, Linden, Lenora, Mahaicony and Port Mourant and were exposed to the TIP legislation, victim identification, screening, and response of the Guyana Police Force’s TIP Unit, labour trafficking- gender and migrants and the role and services offered by the International Organization for Migration(IOM), understanding the Crime of TIP and victim assistance, Care, and referral in Guyana, purpose and function of the ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and TIP Statistics in Guyana.
The training programme began on September 30, 2020 and concluded on October 1, 2020.