The Ministerial Task Force on trafficking in persons (TIP) will release its 2016-2017 Action Plan within the next month.
The Action Plan is currently being reviewed by Interpol before it is finalised, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan told the Government Information Agency (GINA).
“Interpol has a section that deals with trafficking in persons worldwide and we had given them our action plan, and also told them they can make some inputs, and we were awaiting that,” Ramjattan said.
Yesterday evening the minister led a team from his Ministry on a TIP public awareness walk through the Bourda Market, Georgetown.
The Public Security Minister said the action plan is “a pretty comprehensive document” that will seek to address the mechanisms that will need to be in place to effectively tackle TIP.
“We have to get some more resources, prosecutors, investigators. We also have to have half-way houses for the victims to go and feel comfortable,” Ramjatttan said. The action plan has had input from ministries, inter agencies and NGOs, the minister told GINA.
The Ministerial Task Force on TIP meets every month and is headed by Minister Ramjattan. The Task Force is mandated by the Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act No. 2 of 2005 to ensure there is public awareness on TIP training for law enforcement and other officials among other things.
Minister Ramjattan pointed out that his ministry will reach out to the United States and Canada for assistance in training. Already, the Guyana Police Force has begun training of senior ranks on how to identify TIP perpetrators.
“Quite frankly however, it’s a matter of resources in some areas, personnel in others, but public awareness is the easiest aspect of it and that is why we are here,” said Ramjattan of the walkthrough at Bourda.
During the exercise, the Minister and team distributed fliers and other items aimed at raising awareness of TIP.
He noted that last evening’s public awareness activity is the first of several intensified efforts by his ministry to raise awareness on the matter.
“A lot of people in Guyana they see the wrongdoing, but they don’t want to talk about it. I feel with public awareness we’re going to get more information from citizens to bring this thing to a halt,” Ramjattan said.
The TIP awareness programme is also part of government’s effort to heed recommendations from the United States State Department Report on TIP. Earlier this month the report revealed Guyana had moved from the Tier Two Watch list to Tier Two.
“The State Department report also indicated that we still have lots of work to do and we agree with that. One aspect of the work is public awareness…to let them understand that this administration has no tolerance for human trafficking,” said Ramjattan.
In tandem with the public awareness campaign, Ramjattan said police will begin clamping down on night clubs, especially those that sexually exploit women.
“We have to do targeting of certain clubs night clubs and so on that would bring in these girls from overseas,” Ramjattan pointed out.
Public awareness campaigns will soon be taken along the coast and in the hinterland areas, the Minister added.
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