Modern victim-centred transitional shelter to be constructed this year …Govt will continue to support victims, prosecute perpetrators – Benn

Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn has announced that a modern, victim-centred transitional shelter will be constructed this year and will be used to voluntarily accommodate suspected victims of trafficking in persons (TIP) during investigations.
Additionally, he said more money has been allocated in the 2023 Budget to address this crime.
Alluding to the issue of migrant smuggling and its impact on human trafficking, Minister Benn noted that there must be close monitoring and activities that are aimed at sensitising various stakeholders on the issue and promoting a culture of reporting suspected acts of this crime.
TIP is the largest criminal enterprise in the world, second only to dealing with guns and drugs. In the Laws of Guyana, TIP is defined as: “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a person by means of the threat of the use of force or other means of coercion, or by abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or by the giving and receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control of another person, for the purposes of exploitation.”
In Guyana, most of the human trafficking has been on Haitians who arrive by air and then enter the neighbouring countries illegally, with a few attempting to settle in the Interior as miners or loggers.
The other stream of trafficked persons are women, mostly from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil, whom the traffickers use for prostitution. These are found in nightclubs and interior mining districts.
The traffickers extort their “fees” from the victims either as a full advance payment of several thousand US dollars per person as in the case of being smuggled to Europe and North America, or the traffickers collect most of the earnings of the victims over a period of years.
While the Government has managed to crack down on a Haitian smuggling network, other networks are arising, making the fight against human trafficking even more complex.
As such, the Minister said that they must not be derailed from their efforts, and will continue to support the victims and prosecute perpetrators.
Just recently, a three-year national action plan to respond to cases of trafficking in persons was developed across key Government Ministries, with Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn warning that corruption helps to perpetuate the scourge.
Also, last year a new hand signal was launched to report human trafficking in Guyana. Clasping your fingers into your palm and releasing them in a repeated motion three times is the new vital hand signal launched by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to counter human trafficking.
The signal was developed so the public can be aware of when someone is being trafficked. Also, reporting TIP in Guyana has been made more accessible with the hotline – 592 STOP and also includes Spanish and Portuguese responders.
Guyana has managed to retain its Tier 1 ranking in TIP over the past three years but is aiming to have more convictions.