US human trafficking report dismissed


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The Guyana government has warned that relations with the United States could be affected if Washington continues to issue reports on human trafficking that were inaccurate and painted Guyana in a bad light.

“It seems to me that the US is contradicting its own report,” said Human Services and Social Security Minister Priya Manickchand as she “strongly criticised” the US State Department 2010 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report that placed Guyana on the Tier 2 watch list for the fourth consecutive year.

Manickchand said that there is no evidence made available by the US to the effect that Guyana has a significant number of victims and that the report “is based on ignorance and this type of reporting is hurting Guyana’s friendship with the US”.?
She told reporters that since 2004, when the Combating Trafficking in Persons Act was established, Guyana has been making significant strides in dealing with the situation.

But the US State Department in maintaining the Tier 2 level against Guyana, said the country has failed to take steps to combat human trafficking for the past year, is not making significant efforts based on commitments to anti-trafficking reforms over the next year and has a significant number of trafficking victims or a significantly increasing victim population.

“The Government of Guyana does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Despite these efforts, the government did not initiate any new prosecutions of trafficking offences during the reporting period and has yet to convict or punish any trafficking offenders under its five-year old anti-human trafficking law,” the report said.

“During the reporting period, the government and NGOs (non government organisations) identified four victims of trafficking, two of whom prison officials proactively identified,” the report said, noting that “the government provided some resources toward victim protection and local anti-trafficking groups, no suspected traffickers were charged, limiting the level of safety and protection that could be provided to victims”.

According to the Trafficking in People (TIP) 2010 Report, while the government took some “tangible” steps to raise awareness of human trafficking, including the establishment of focal point groups and an anti-trafficking task force, “some local observers felt that the government discouraged discussions on developing effective strategies for combating this phenomenon of modern-day slavery”.

The 2010 report said Guyana is a source country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically conditions of forced prostitution and forced labour. Guyanese trafficking victim cases have been identified in the country, as well as in other countries in the region.

Related story:

US report blames 'dons' for human trafficking

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