Guyana maintains Tier One status in TIP ranking

Guyana has maintained its Tier One status for the fifth consecutive year, the latest United States’ State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report has stated.

The report states that despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic Guyana has demonstrated serious and sustained efforts during the reporting period.

Trafficking in Persons Logo.

“These efforts included increasing investigations, identifying and assisting more victims, creating the first anti-trafficking hotline in Spanish, opening an additional shelter, and creating standard operating procedures for victim identification,” the report stated.

In 2020, the Government identified 199 victims while several Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) found an additional five.  These include 127 sex trafficking and 77 labour trafficking victims- a significant increase from 102 victims identified by the Government and three additional victims identified by an international organisation in 2019.  

Of the 204 victims, 127 were Venezuelans, 27 Haitians, 24 Dominicans, 22 Guyanese, three Jamaicans, and one Cuban. Of these, 151 were females and 53 males, 10 of whom were children.

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s Counter- Trafficking (C-TIP) Unit identified victims and provided social welfare and assistance to them. In 2020, the Government reported that the C-TIP Unit received a budgetary allocation of $25.86 million and in 2021, $37.67 million.

During the reporting period, 2020, the Government referred 100 victims to shelter or protective services, compared to 99 in 2019. A new shelter for trafficking victims in a rural district was also opened, bringing the total number of Government-operated shelters to five. These shelters offer specialised care, including food, training, translation, legal services, medical services, and psychological therapy for the victims.

The Government also provided $62.35 million in 2020 to two NGO-managed shelters providing housing for adult female victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking, an increase from $2.35 million in 2019. Some $4.52 million in direct financial assistance was also provided to victims who opted not to stay in a shelter. Counseling and other humanitarian assistance were also provided to 125 victims who chose not to access shelter services.

For child victims, the Human Services Ministry provided intake counseling and placed them either in a shelter co-managed with NGOs, or in Government managed children’s homes. Some children were placed into foster care or reintegrated with their families, while authorities placed adult male victims at non-specialised night shelters.

In terms of prevention, the Ministerial Taskforce on Trafficking in Persons, co-chaired by the Ministries of Home Affairs and Human Services, coordinated national anti-trafficking efforts and served as the decision-making body.  The Government began consultations, including with human trafficking survivors, to draft a National Action Plan (NAP) for 2021–2023, to replace the plan that concluded at the end of 2020. The Government also provided funding for the completion and implementation of the NAP in the 2021 budget.