Guyana government cracking down on human trafficking

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, April 30, 2008 – A Guyana government official has expressed concern about the number of illegal immigrants making their way into the country and has vowed to crack down on any human trafficking involved in this movement.

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee made the comments as a Ministerial task force, set up by Cabinet last year to bolster the campaign against Trafficking in Persons (TIP), prepares to release its first report.

He expressed particular concern about the “high presence of African nationals particularly Nigerians who are entering the country illegally from Brazil and Venezuela”.

“Let me emphasise that, as was the case with the Chinese ring, the government will spare no effort in tracking down and breaking up any local ring that is engaged in encouraging this illegal activity,” Mr Rohee said.

In relation to reported trafficking of Guyanese nationals, Mr Rohee said the government was pleased with its cooperation and collaboration with the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago in addressing allegations of human trafficking of Guyanese nationals through a Trinidad and Tobago/ Guyana network.

“We will continue working with all our neighbouring countries to address this trans-national crime,” he said.

The TIP Unit of the Human Services Ministry unit has conducted numerous awareness campaigns countrywide, particularly focusing on Amerindian communities which have been identified as the most vulnerable.

The programme receives assistance from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID).

TIP is a global issue and traffickers use a range of coercive mechanisms to control victims and keep them in positions to be exploited. These include debt bondage, isolation, threats and the use of violence.