Underage Guyanese girls caught with Surinamese official
Following Surinamese protests at being branded ineffectual in its fight against human trafficking, a senior Suriname official has been arrested over trafficking of Guyanese girls.
PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Monday July 9, 2012 – Just days after Suriname blasted the United States for stating it was doing nothing to fight human trafficking watch list, district secretary Hesdy Veira was arrested by the police of Nickerie for human trafficking and smuggling.
According to press reports out of Suriname, police say that Veira, who runs the Pleasure Bar in Statenweg in the rice district, was allegedly abusing two minors
And, police public relations officer Humphrey Naarden has revealed that the top official in the Ministry of Regional Development is not a first offender.
According to an eye witness, the two Guyanese girls, aged 14 and 16 years old, were working in the bar at night, reportedly under the supervision of older women who work in the bar.
This arrest follows public protest by Surinamese Justice Minister Edward Belfort that the recently issued United States human trafficking report that featured Suriname was not based on facts and contains half truths and lies.
Belfort was responding in Parliament to remarks by legislator Chandrikapersad Santokhi who criticized the government for failing to take measures in 2011 to prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking as stated in the report.
Suriname had been reprimanded by the United States for its poor efforts in the field of human trafficking. Washington states in the report that in 2011 Suriname did little or nothing to fight this evil, reason why the country was placed on the Tier 2 Watch. The recently issued Trafficking in Persons Report 2012 typifies Suriname as a transit point and final destination for victims of sex slavery and bonded labor.
Belfort told the legislature that the statement regarding prosecution of perpetrators is not true, citing two cases of prosecution. He denied allegations that the government had expelled suspects. Belfort said that the government wondered where Washington got its facts from to compile the report.