MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY, June 21, 2017-The Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons in collaboration with the Guyana Press Association conducted a ‘TIP Media Training’ on June 17, 2017 at the Guyana Police Force Officers’ Training Centre, Camp and Young Streets, Eve Leary, Georgetown. The Training Course featured twenty-three (23) media personnel, including Editors, from multiple administrative Regions representing various local media houses.

The objectives of the Training Course were: (i) to equip members of the media with an understanding of the crime of trafficking in persons while informing them of existing Governmental and Non-Governmental interventions locally in order to promote accurate reporting to the public and (ii) to emphasize to members of the media the importance of responsible reporting to ensure victim safety and to avoid victim stigmatization and jeopardizing the success of ongoing cases.

After the participants were given a background on the Task Force, Ms. Tanisha Williams-Corbin, Coordinator of the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Unit at the Ministry of Social Protection presented on the definition of trafficking in persons and on how the crime differed from human smuggling. Ms. Jackie Wilson, Manager at the Battered Women’s Shelter, Help and Shelter and Mr. Neil Bacchus, Chief Executive Officer of the Indigenous Peoples’ Commission spoke on the roles played by their organizations in fighting trafficking in persons in Guyana. Ms. Diana O’Brien, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions presented on legal considerations in relation to the crime.

Ms. Ann Greene, Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency then gave a presentation on the importance of cautious media reporting on crimes involving children, with special focus on trafficking in persons. The final presentation, delivered by Mr. Neil Marks, President of the Guyana Press Association focused on ethical considerations for media personnel in reporting. The Course also included valuable discussions based on the topics presented.

The Training Course was the second such activity led by the Task Force in 2017 after the ‘Trafficking in Persons Training Course for Police Prosecutors’, which was held on April 1, 2017 at the same venue. Task Force member Superintendent Ewart Wray, Central Immigration and Passport Office also conducted training sessions for Immigration Officials on the subject of trafficking in persons on January 7, 14 and 21, 2017 at the direction of the Commissioner of Police.

The Training also comes on the heels of the most recent series of trafficking in persons’ awareness activities conducted by the Task Force in 2017. From June 13-15, 2017, a team from the Task Force comprised of individuals from the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Social Protection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, and supported by Food for the Poor and Community Policing, visited nine (9) secondary schools, the New Amsterdam Prison, the Guysuco Training Centre and the Family Awareness Consciousness Togetherness (FACT) Group for informative and interactive sessions and to disseminate brochures, posters and other paraphernalia.

The Action Sub-Committee of the Task Force has also been active in 2017, as teams led by the Guyana Police Force and typically comprising members from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and Ministry of Social Protection conducted a number of enforcement ‘sweeps’ in areas where it was suspected that the crime of trafficking in persons may have been taking place. These enforcement sweeps, which included surveillance, surprise inspections and establishment raids, took place in Regions 3, 4, 7 and, most recently, in Region 1 where members from the aforementioned Agencies were joined by representatives from the Ministry of Public Security and the Indigenous Peoples’ Commission.

The Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons remains committed to collaborating with stakeholders, both local and foreign, in combating the crime of human trafficking in Guyana through the pillars of Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.

Task Force Members and Media Personnel who participated in the ‘TIP Media Training’ conducted by the Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons in collaboration with the Guyana Press Association on June 17, 2017 at the Guyana Police Force Officers’ Training Centre.