Jun 18, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Ten Haitian nationals were yesterday found in the Swiss Hotel located at Skeldon, Berbice, Region Six, without any form of identification or legal documents. It is believed by the Government of Guyana that the foreigners were victims of human trafficking.
According to a statement released from the Office of the Attorney General, the Haitians were discovered in the hotel by police ranks around 10:30 hrs.
Kaieteur News was told last evening that arrangements were being made to transport the suspected trafficking victims from Berbice to Georgetown where they will be kept in custody of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Protection.
The Government stated that the Haitians – five females and five males – are claiming to be juveniles. One of them who spoke English reportedly told the cops that they were brought from Suriname via speed boat and left at the hotel since Monday, June 14.
Sources close to the investigation told this newspaper that some of them looked older than 18 but because they are not in possession of any documents, investigators are unable to correctly verify their ages. It was further alleged that the person who brought them took away their passports, other documents, money and other personal belongings.
The Government in its statement related, “it has long been suspected that there is a huge trafficking and human smuggling ring, including children, taking place in the Region and Guyana is being used as a transit point in this racket.” It is believed that persons, including children, are being trafficked to various parts of the world through the country.
Foreigners being trafficked through Guyana, the statement continued, includes Cubans, Nigerians and Haitians, among others, and posited that the discovery of the Haitians in the Berbice hotel is the latest manifestation of “the nefarious racket at work which seems to be operating on a daily basis.”
The statement further added that its Brazilian counterpart has already expressed concern about the suspected smuggling ring that exists. Suriname too has reportedly shared intelligence with Guyana that suggests that the trafficking in persons racket exists there too. The Cuban Ambassador to Guyana, according to the statement, has already been engaged about the matter.
The Government stated that in light of the “circumstances” it is compelled to inform the relevant international agencies that deals human trafficking. It also plans to engage the United Nations Humans Rights Council (UNHRC), International Police (INTERPOL) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for their urgent intervention in the matter.
Only last month, the Government cited that a number of Haitians, Nigerians and Cubans were arrested by police close to Lethem, Region Nine. Some of them reportedly did not have entry stamps to Guyana in their passports.
On May 26, Kaieteur News had reported too that 17 Haitians, who had arrived at the Eugene Correia International Airport, were packed on a return flight and sent back to their port of embarkation.
The Guyana Police force (GPF) had stated that they had failed to satisfy the country’s immigration requirements. It was noted in the Government’s statement as well that the continuous influx of the foreigners is occurring at Guyana’s borders which are currently closed and at both of its international airports. As a result of this, it added that Guyana will immediately review its immigration protocols and impose lawful restrictions and conditions where necessary to address the situation.
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