– Organization calls for Ministry’s staff to be more dedicated
The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security will be training members of Guyana Women Miners’ Organization to effectively deal with victims of sexual crimes in keeping with the law.
This workshop will be conducted next Thursday, two weeks after the organization helped rescue four teenage girls, who were victims of trafficking in persons.
The group, who reached out to ranks of the Bartica Police Station, aided the rescue of the first of the four teenagers, who had escaped from her captives in Oko Backdam, Region Seven. After learning of the remaining girls, ranks went to release them from exploitation.
The organization provided clothing, shelter and medical care for the teens.
Three Sundays ago, the teens were taken from East Berbice by a woman, who presented herself as Abigail. Feeling the burden to finance their families, the children went with the woman who had promised them employment as shopkeepers in the interior.
However, when they arrived at the brothel they were informed that they had to have sex with men. Refusal to entertain the men resulted in imprisonment, physical, sexual and emotional abuses.
That episode of their lives is over and the teens are now with the State.
According to Director of Child Care and Protection Agency, Ann Greene, members of the organization met with the agency, on Friday last, to discuss ways of strengthening their partnership.
One step forward in this regard, is the Ministry facilitating this workshop that will focus on rules and regulations one should follow when dealing with these issues.
Greene disclosed that the teens are placed in a safe shelter. The matter is being investigated by the Counter Trafficking in Persons Unit, following which charges would be laid against the perpetrators. She assured that the agency still has an interest in the matter.
Speaking bluntly on the situation, the Director stated that the agency is unsure what its actions towards the teens would be after the investigations are over since one of the teens has a child.
Nonetheless, the agency will ensure they receive sufficient psychosocial support, an integral part in their rehabilitation. In addition, the agency will continue to partner with the organization since protecting children cannot be achieved in isolation.
However, the initial response of the Ministry has irked the organization. While, being optimistic that the two agencies could work together, the organization needs the Ministry’s staff to be more dedicated.
During a recent interview with this publication, the organization’s Vice-President Carol Fredericks and Executive Member Judith Blair recounted that the Ministry’s representative in Bartica did not respond to the organization’s calls for assistance.
They emphasized that this was brought to the subject Minister, Jennifer Webster’s attention during a recent meeting.
They related that the representative was informed about the situation as soon as the organization’s members in Bartica were alerted. However, the official chose not to respond.
The members also mentioned that the said official interfered with the work of the police by instructing the teens not to give their statements in Bartica.
They (the teens) were told to give their statements at Eve Leary.
The women miners expressed frustration that the perpetrators who were caught red-handed were placed on station bail. They are fearful that the perpetrators could flee Guyana and escape punishment for their heinous crimes. The women alleged that the files have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Blair stressed that the culprits could have been released and held back because of the numerous crimes they have committed against the teenagers.
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