Focus continues on reducing TIP, migrant smuggling

GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Ministry of Social Protection remains committed to curbing trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, with the help of stakeholders both nationally and internationally.

In 2005, Guyana passed the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act in the National Assembly which prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes sufficiently stringent penalties ranging from three years to life imprisonment.

Ministerial Advisor to the Minister of Social Protection, Alicia Jerome-Reece

The Ministry, today hosted a peer-to-peer exchange meeting on Trafficking in Human Beings and smuggling of migrants, organised by the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and funded by the European Union (EU). The programme will be implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

IOM is an intergovernmental organisation which provides services and advice concerning migration to governments and migrants, including internally displaced persons, refugees and migrant workers. The organisation became involved with the United Nations (UN) in September, 2016.

In brief remarks, at the Marriott Hotel, Ministerial Advisor to the Minister of Social Protection, Alicia Jerome-Reece explained that the meeting’s objective to combat trafficking and smuggling of persons will require robust, and sustained interventions especially through countrywide awareness programmes, and cross-border cooperation among states.

The ministerial advisor added that the information exchange and experiences on policy implementation and best practices among countries will also assist in their fight towards reducing the crimes.

[Left to right] IOM Chief of Mission for Guyana and Regional Coordination Officer for the Caribbean, Robert Natiello, First Lady of Guyana, Mrs Sandra Granger, Head of Political Press and Information Section, Delegation of the European Union in Guyana, Derek Lambe; Ministerial Advisor to the Minister of Social Protection, Alicia Jerome-Reece; UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mikiko Tanaka and other officials

“We have already implemented a legislation that counters trafficking legislation and we have already ratified numerous international conventions in relation to trafficking in persons, so basically this morning, the presentation was on our efforts to counter trafficking in persons, the work of the inter-ministerial task force on trafficking and what they have been doing and Guyana’s commitment towards this entire process,” Reece explained.

The ministerial advisor noted that the National Action Plan launched in January, 2017 is a victim-centered and rights-based approach in assisting and protecting trafficked victims and having mechanisms to ensure that victims are protected throughout. Also the plan caters for methods to strengthen the country’s judicial process to handle those cases.

Jerome-Reece said that the Ministry of Social Protection recognised that more emphasis will need to be placed on human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

In June 2015, Guyana sought technical assistance under the (ACP-EU) Migration Action Programme to improve its visa processing and issuance system and immigration services to prevent the unregulated inflow of illegal migrants that can leave loop holes for the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.

Additionally, IOM Chief of Mission for Guyana and Regional Coordination Officer for the Caribbean, Robert Natiello, said that the agency hopes to highlight the push factors regarding persons who are willing to be smuggled even though they are aware of the risks they are taking to escape their homeland.

The IOM agency has recorded 7,800 migrants death for 2016 which is a 27 percent increase compared to 2015.

By: Neola Damon

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