The Guyana Police Force has joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in alerting Guyanese to be cautious when they are considering job offers overseas.
The warning comes in the wake of reports that Guyanese nationals were rescued in neighbouring Suriname after they were identified as victims of Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
A statement from the Guyana Police Force said that they are probing the circumstances under which two sets of Guyanese nationals were victims of Trafficking in Persons.
The Guyanese recently returned to Guyana after they were recruited from Amerindian communities to work on farms in the Dutch-speaking country.
According to the police, while in Suriname, the Guyanese were placed to live under harsh conditions with limited food and were required to work for long hours. They were also not paid for their labour.
The Guyana Embassy in Suriname informed the Surinamese authorities, and upon the return of the affected persons they provided information to the Guyanese authorities, which led to the commencement of the investigations.
The Guyana Foreign Ministry has informed that on the afternoon of Friday 21st November, the Embassy of Guyana, in Paramaribo, Suriname, was informed by the Surinamese authorities that five persons, who indicated that they were Guyanese nationals, were at a Surinamese Police Station and were being sent to Guyana the following day.
In view of the fact that the Embassy was also advised that the persons were victims of Trafficking in Persons, two officials, including the Ambassador, immediately visited the station outside the city of Paramaribo to interview the five males.
Details regarding the allegations of trafficking were obtained during that interview and a report was submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the very afternoon, given the seriousness of the allegations.
“The report included details provided by the individuals about their passage to Suriname, the known name of the alleged perpetrator and indeed where they were located since they arrived in Suriname. The Embassy was able to confirm that four of the men are from Region One and the other from Region Four, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
According to the ministry, while all five men were asked to provide telephone numbers for their relatives in Guyana, only four were able to do so.
The Embassy was therefore, able to make contact with the relatives of three of the four individuals who provided contact numbers.
There was no response from the number provided by one of the individuals.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said that from the interview, it was also ascertained that the five persons were indeed Guyanese nationals. This confirmation was required since they were all without identification documents.
Given the circumstances and the absence of the necessary travel documents (which is an offence ordinarily), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs facilitated their release upon entry into Guyana.
The Ministry stated that the report received from the five men has been provided to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the relevant law enforcement authorities of both countries are in contact under the mechanism which exists between our two countries.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to advise the public to be wary of too lucrative to be true job offers outside of Guyana, and where promises of securing the necessary travel documents and work permits are made. Given a previous experience of similar nature which was reported to the MOFA, even greater vigilance is advised for the interior communities,” the Ministry advised.
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