No one should have to endure indignity and exploitation – Min Persaud tells GDF ranks

TIP training

Being frontline workers who may likely come into contact with victims of Trafficking in Persons (TIP), the Human Services and Social Security Ministry wants members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) to be able to understand the scourge and how they can effectively respond to it.

Staff of the Human Services and Social Security Ministry and members of the GDF on the second day of the TIP training exercise

To this end, the Ministry has ramped up training for the GDF through its Counter-TIP Unit in a two-day exercise that concluded on Friday. Through it, participants can gain a clear understanding of the anti-TIP laws and are being trained on how to identify and respond to cases of human trafficking.
Subject Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud said that her Ministry is intensifying its focus on TIP and will be expanding its training programmes to include persons likely to come into contact with TIP cases.
“TIP is akin to modern-day slavery and no one should have to endure the indignity and exploitation it brings with it. We work with survivors and will be moving soon to a public awareness drive to encourage everyone to recognise and report it to save persons and allow us to curb the scourge of trafficking. It has no place in a world of freedom and rights and compassion,” Minister Persaud expressed.
Deputy Director of Social Services Abike Samuels addressed the participants at the opening session, reminding them that they are the guardians of the country’s borders and the persons who defend its territorial integrity.
“We depend on [you] to protect us,” Samuels said, noting that this is the reason the Ministry has chosen to boost the capacity of the GDF in TIP training. Active involvement by all stakeholders, she pointed out, is what is needed to treat the scourge.
The GDF, more than any other institution, has multiple roles and must be fully flexible and integrated. With the requisite knowledge, the members will be able to help those affected to get the assistance they need.
Annually, significant resources are devoted to the TIP fight which includes training frontline personnel to identify trafficking victims, collecting and reporting detailed information on suspected cases of trafficking, conducting undercover operations in establishments thought to be fronts for TIP, providing support for victims of trafficking, and repatriating victims who are found to be trafficked in the Caribbean.
“The Ministry continues to be committed to leveraging every resource available to confront this threat, to support the victims and hold the traffickers accountable. We have made tremendous strides in eradicating the criminal network and to help victims rebuild their lives,” Samuels observed.
Probation and Social Services Officer, TIP Unit, Deneise Ralph offered that the training will equip the GDF with the knowledge and skills they need to do something about TIP.
“You are frontline officers and you’ll interface with potential victims of trafficking and in so doing, you’ll be able to help. Maybe you might be that person’s only hope of escaping from the traffickers,” she told the participants.
A representative of the GDF expressed gratitude to the Ministry for organising the training sessions that serve as opportunities for sharing and discussing ways of combatting TIP.