Guyana has retained its Tier 1 ranking in the latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report of the United States Department of State, which was released on June 25, 2020.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Guyana received a Tier 1 ranking. The annual TIP Report ranks countries across the globe based on their efforts to combat “trafficking in persons,” with Tier 1 being the highest-ranking a country can attain.
Countries given the ranking are those who have “made efforts to address the human trafficking problem that meet the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) minimum standards.
Guyana and The Bahamas are the only two Caribbean countries with a Tier 1 ranking.
The Report applauded Guyana for its efforts in “demonstrating serious and sustained efforts by completing a draft amendment of the Combating Trafficking of Persons Act; sentencing a convicted trafficker to a total of 15 years imprisonment; drafting a national action plan to eliminate child labor; completing standard operating procedures for investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases, and opening its first trafficking shelter outside of the capital area.”
In the period covered by the report, law enforcement authorities in collaboration with the Counter-Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) Unit, Ministry of Social Protection investigated twenty-seven (27) cases of alleged trafficking in persons. In addition, one hundred and twelve (112) alleged victims were identified and provided with psychosocial support from the Ministry of Social Protection (MoSP) and its partners.
Initiatives undertaken by MoSP
The Ministry of Social Protection noted the US State Department’s prioritized recommendations in its 2020 TIP Report and wishes to state that its concurs with those recommendations as areas that need to be bolstered.
In fact, the Ministry said that constant monitoring identified these and other areas that needed to be strengthened to alleviate the anxieties of victims and survivors.
For example, on the recommendation of providing specialized services to migrant victims of TIP, the Ministry established a halfway home in June 2019 to cater specifically to adult migrants (male and female victims) of trafficking. The Ministry also recognized the need to have staff who are bilingual hence, a bilingual staff was employed and assigned to the C-TIP Unit in February 2020.
Other frontline officials – including members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the C-TIP’s Unit – are currently participating in Spanish classes, an initiative funded by International Organization for Migration (IOM). It is the Ministry’s vision to expand on this initiative to include other languages.
Additionally, on the recommendation to strengthen the capacity of Labour Inspectors to identify and refer victims of labor trafficking, the Ministry said that it has conducted a number of training with the Inspectors over the years. The next training is scheduled for October, 2020.
On the recommendation of tracking reports, the Ministry also activated a system to track and report data on trafficking cases reported to the trafficking hotline and by the Inspectors. The Ministry is soon to launch a Spanish hotline for addressing reports of trafficking in persons.
The Ministry said that it remains committed to protecting victims and survivors and will continue its engagement with its local and international partners including the Guyana Police Force, the Together in Peace Home, Help and Shelter, and Food for the Poor Guyana Inc., to ensure best practices in trafficking investigation and screening, including ways to maintain shelter location confidentiality.
The Ministry encourages continuous reporting of suspicious activities by the public. Reports can be made to the Ministry’s 24 hour hotline numbers: 227–4083 or 623-5030; via Facebook or [email protected].
2013-2015 – Guyana was on the Tier 2 Watch-list
2016 – Guyana moved to Tier 2
2017 to 2020 – Guyana moved to Tier 1 status