Racist profiling, targeting women for prostitution need to end – Indigenous community

….as Equality Forum launches report on hate crime

Indigenous people are now taking a stance against the scourge of racial profiling and targeting women for prostitution, which has become a norm in society.
As the Guyana Equality Forum (GEF) launched its report on hate crime, Chief of the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples, Colin Klautky pointed towards racially-motivated issues they face quite regularly.
He noted, in most instances, it has become normal but there has to be a way to mitigate this scourge.
“The term ‘buck people’ we find extremely obnoxious…Concerning racism in Guyana, just go by some minibus parks: ‘buck girl, buck boy, where you going?’. It is like something entrenched and how do we change this? How do we combat this? These are some issues that need serious addressing.”
The report highlighted that Guyana’s Indigenous population is still subjected to racism at the interpersonal and structural levels.
“The term ‘buck people’ is still commonly used among all other racial groups in Guyana to refer to the Indigenous population. Buck originates from the discriminatory lexicon of Dutch colonisers and its present use is contemptuous, consistent with its history as a denigratory and derogatory term,” the report stated.
Apart from derogatory terms used to refer to Indigenous people, the Chief said there is another major problem at hand – that is – women from various Amerindian communities are being targeted for exploitation and trafficking.
This is happening in alarming numbers in mining areas, with Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) leading the way.
“Our Indigenous females, especially the younger ones and those from broken homes in the villages, tend to be targeted for prostitution and the trafficking of people. It is very high in Guyana and unacceptably high in Region Seven. We have found that in gold mining areas, where there are extractive businesses, there is this tendency to have high cases of prostitution.”
Klautky noted that complaints have been made to the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) but due to the lack of enforcement powers, these matters do not see fair resolution.
He emphasised, “It has an effect on our people’s self-esteem. Our people are scared to complain. We’re not sure to whom we should complain…We have sent complaints to the Ethnic Relations Commission. Again, we understand that the ERC does not have enforcement powers. All they can do is make complaints recommendations.”