Mario Villarroel Lander cruz roja venezuela ayuda//
The fight against TIP

Venezuela, Caracas
The fight against TIP

THE recent announcement by the Coordinator of the Ministry of Social Protection’s Counter Trafficking in Persons Unit(C-TIP), that training of the Magistracy and Guyana Police Force prosecutors, has been a factor in the reduction of time for prosecuting Trafficking in Persons cases, is indeed a much-welcomed development.

Mario Villarroel Lander

Such an initiative can only enhance measures already deployed by the State to rein in and defeat a criminal monstrosity with serious implications for its victims. Trafficking In Persons (TIP), also referred to as human trafficking, is among the many existing acts of known international criminality

It is a many-headed beast that is known for its cunning brutality that first ensnares its victims using subtle guises; before applying the element of cruel subjugation that instills fear, designed for the response of total submission for the grand iniquitous design of exploitation, of those in its death-like grasp, in whatever form as decided by the controllers

For an understanding of the criminal phenomenon that is TIP, one must refer to Article Three of the ‘United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons’ which defines it as “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”

Therefore, in every detail as outlined above, TIP is not only a very serious crime that violates human rights; ensnares thousands of men, women and children in the deadly grips of traffickers, but also a pervasive act of cruel criminality that has domestic, regional, and international dimensions, as alluded above. Further, the reach of this monumental sin is embedded in every country, whether as one of origin, transit or destination for victims. Thus, it is in the category of a transnational crime and is known to be perpetrated with or without the involvement of organised crime groups. Its hellish and devious mechanisms that are used to imprison its numerous unsuspecting victims, makes for an undoubted description of irrefutable modern-day slavery. Three examples support this fact: *Through acts of coercion, trafficked persons are held against their will, providing services to the traffickers or to others

* They are not allowed to leave on arrival at their destination. *Their work or services range from bonded labour to sexual exploitation. The ascension of the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Government, has seen a completely different approach that could be described as pro-active, and results-oriented to a very serious social problem that has been in existence, and festering within the borders of Guyana for some significant time, without any effort and genuine response to its growing threat by the former administration. Without any fear of contradiction, it is fair to say that despite existing legislation, in the form of Combatting of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2005, in Guyana, that prohibited all forms of trafficking in persons, as well as prescribing very stringent penalties, there was shockingly marked indifference, and what had been an approach of denying the existence of such a grave criminality, that continued to grow, concomitant with the rise in the price for gold, which attracted untold numbers of coast landers, and foreigners to Guyana’s goldfields

We cannot forget the advent of Ms. Simona Broomes, as President of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO), and now Minister within the Ministry of the Presidency, whose many missions into the many hinterland communities, rescuing many young women – mainly teenagers, which finally exposed the true reality and extent of human trafficking in Guyana. And these journeys, dangerous in scope, she carried out without any security protection and assistance from the then PPP/C administration, except receiving grudging criticisms from them that underlined shocking indifference. Indisputably, some of the first arrests and convictions were secured as a result of her sterling efforts, for which she is duly recognised by the United States’ Department of State

Fast forward to the current efforts by State authorities in combatting this iniquitous trade, there has been significant progress which has evidenced improved legislation, more arrests and improved convictions of the unconscionable who participate in this horrible affront. Led by a Ministerial Task Force for Trafficking in Persons (TIP), and the Ministry of Social Protection in which there are designated departments, with a specialised Counter Trafficking in Persons Unit and personnel, that coordinates counter trafficking activities with law enforcement authorities, dozens of trapped females have been rescued from hotels and bars, with the shadowy organisers/perpetrators of this evil trade being arrested and arraigned before the courts

It is sensitisation initiatives such as the one highlighted above, that serves to bring greater realisation, supported by graphical illustration, to the pivotal enforcement arms that will serve for a greater understanding of a problem that is as subtle and evil in its existence, as it is deceptive and covert in its criminal operation. Let it be understood that Trafficking in Persons is second only to drug trafficking in its criminal activity. Therefore, its financial lure serves as a great incentive for its controllers to want to maintain and manage its obnoxious trade and existence. At best, it is a great corrupter of morals, and must be defeated by national efforts. Already, the results of the efforts towards this scourge are being realised by greater inter-agency cooperation. The public too must be commended for its communal cooperation with the relevant authorities