GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday June 23, 2014, CMC – The United States government has again listed Guyana among countries not doing enough to curb trafficking in persons, and suggested it was an unwilling partner in the effort.
“Guyana is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Guyanese and foreign women and girls—including from Venezuela, Suriname, and Brazil—are subjected to prostitution in Guyana,” the June 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report said.
This latest report, again labeling Guyana a human trafficking nation, was released Friday, but there has so far been no comment from Government.
In the report, Guyana has retained its position on a Tier Two Watch List, meaning, “The absolute number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is very significant or is significantly increasing”. Additionally the country is in danger of being downgraded to Tier Three, which states that government is not rendering sufficient response to the TIP problem.
Tier Two is a rank held by Guyana for some years, briefly relieved when the administration enacted legislation aimed at countering this violation of human rights, but the country was returned to the Tier Two Watch List owing to a lack of follow-up action after passage of the new laws.
“The government made limited progress in holding traffickers accountable. The Combating Trafficking of Persons Act of 2005 prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties, ranging from three years’ to life imprisonment,” the US TIP report stated.
“Guyana has an adequate trafficking law and achieved three trafficking convictions during the reporting period; however, all three convicted traffickers were released on bail pending the appeal of their convictions. The Government of Guyana did not provide information regarding the basis on which the defendants sought to appeal their convictions or on which the court determined to grant them bail,” The report states.
Not only has the US State Department slammed Guyana for a lack of implementation of TIP laws, but it was also critical of the administration’s lack of cooperation with other agencies seeking to rid the country of TIP.
“The government made minimal efforts to prevent trafficking. The government’s ministerial taskforce was designated to monitor and assess the government’s anti-trafficking efforts, but it did not report any results. A leading NGO that has played a significant role in rescuing trafficking victims requested to be one of the partners on the ministerial anti-trafficking taskforce; however the taskforce has yet to grant this request despite this organization’s critical role in the protection of victims,” the TIP 2014 report stated.