Guyana slams US human trafficking report

first_imgNewsRegional Guyana slams US human trafficking report by: – June 29, 2012 Tweet As in 2011, Guyana remains on Tier 2 in the latest US State Department report. (File photo)GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday June 29, 2012 – The Guyana government has denounced the latest US State Department report on trafficking in persons which contended that Georgetown has made no discernible progress in holding human trafficking offenders in Guyana accountable. It added that limited progress was made in preventing human trafficking during the reporting period.Echoing previous editions of its annual report, the US State Department said: “Guyana is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Guyanese nationals have been subjected to human trafficking in other countries in the Caribbean region. Cases of human trafficking reported in the media generally involved women and girls in forced prostitution.”As in 2011, Guyana remains on Tier 2 in the latest report, which says that government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.Georgetown reacted on Wednesday via the Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking with a detailed, strongly worded statement in which it claimed that the US report “fails to establish not one single fact”. It went on to state that the architects of the report “have not made significant progress in improving the veracity, coherence and validity of their annual assessments”, adding that the Task Force “considers the report an affront to its members…”. It condemned one aspect of the report as “a total falsehood”.The full text of the statement follows:“The Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons finds the content of the US State Department’s most recent assessment of the Government of Guyana’s efforts to combat trafficking in persons, to use a local parlance, ‘a difficult pill to swallow’.  The Report fails to establish not one single fact. The Task Force notes several inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the Report that must be addressed. What is clear is that the architects of this Report have not made significant progress in improving the veracity, coherence and validity of their annual assessments.“The Ministerial Task Force denounces the Report since it comprises unsubstantiated generalizations and repetitive uncorroborated claims. The Task Force strongly recommends that the US State Department seek to improve its methodology, establish proper baselines to guide comparisons, avoid use of anecdotal claims and develop a consistent, understandable, transparent and logical tier ranking system if countries are to benefit from these rituals.“The plethora of uncorroborated claims made in the Report can only result in a distorted view of the Guyanese reality as regards the national trafficking in persons’ situation.  Further the Task Force considers the Report an affront to its members, frontline government staff and over one hundred (100) citizens who have been trained to identify and report trafficking in persons and have been doing so along with NGOs such as Help Shelter, Food for the Poor (Guyana) and the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) all of whom partnered with Government in responding to trafficking in persons matters.“While we were encouraged by what we felt at the time was meaningful dialogue between the Ministerial Task Force and US Embassy Officials, this Report raises significant concerns over the efficacy of these engagements. A perusal of the Report reveals two inescapable inferences; one, the architects had already decided what they wanted to put in the Report and two, the architects gave little or no credence to the information presented by government in partnership with NGOs. Consequently, those two factors beg the question of the usefulness of such engagements in future.“The danger of these unfounded claims and anecdotes that are replete in the US Report is that even though they are not the product of systematic research nor critical analysis they have nevertheless been published in the local media thus influencing public opinion. The US Report’s misrepresentation and scaremongering must be refuted because of its impact on the country’s image and the perpetuation of stereotypes and fears.  Worst yet, it can lead to a waste of resources and energy, and a reduction in traditional opportunities for personal economic development and educational advancement.“Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the Report is the assertion that; “the government has not updated its National Plan of Action (NPA) to combat trafficking in persons since 2005.”  This is a total falsehood.“During the engagements leading up to this report we shared with the US the National Plan of Action (NPA) that guided our response for the period 2010-2011.  The plan covered prevention and awareness, direct assistance to victims of trafficking and criminal justice response to combat trafficking in persons.“The NPA comprised sixteen specific objectives: to provide information about Trafficking in Persons and safe migration to vulnerable communities; to improve cooperation mechanisms among key stakeholders to prevent TIP; to enhance capacity of hinterland communities to prevent Trafficking in Persons; to provide appropriate and comprehensive direct assistance to victims; to enhance capacity of stakeholders to identify victims and provide direct assistance through training; to formalize and strengthen a National Referral Mechanism and Inter-agency protocol; to enhance the capacity of the Law Enforcement Agency to investigate, prosecute and convict traffickers; and to enhance cooperative and enforcement mechanisms among neighbouring countries  to convict traffickers and protect victims, inter alia.“One of the successful outputs of this plan was the formation of the Training and Awareness Sub-committee, a task oriented group to standardise training material and eliminate gaps in geographical coverage of awareness programmes.”“Equally startling is the claim that; “the government’s public insistence that human trafficking is not a significant problem in the country created a potential disincentive for police and court officials to address trafficking cases.” If we are to logically extend this line of reasoning then if government says that kidnapping and abductions rates in Guyana are negligible then according to the logic of the US Embassy the Government of Guyana can be accused of creating a disincentive for these crimes to be reported and investigated.“The Report goes on to say; “There was evidence that people could be penalized for reporting suspected human trafficking crimes to the police.”  Police investigations into this matter pointed to the possibility that a young female was trafficked and that a family member was apparently complicit in the arrangement.  It was further alleged, that the said family member had received a financial reward in return for her involvement.  Although not widespread, this is the second time that the Guyanese authorities have found evidence indicating that family members were complicit in trafficking another family member. The fact that the family member eventually reported the matter is not sufficient to exonerate her of facilitating a crime.“Further, the Report states that; “Guyana is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.”  The Ministerial Task Force challenges the US Embassy to validate this assertion with quantitative data since none was provided.  The Report provides no evidence of forced labour; in fact, in a surprisingly strange twist in its analysis, the Report accuses government of not doing enough to generate the data to back the “claim” made in the US Report!!“The architects of the Report punctuate their analysis with a view that there are “vulnerabilities” especially among hinterland residents. The Task Force wishes to emphasize that the Government of Guyana has gone about attacking trafficking in persons through the criminal justice system as well as social prevention measures.  Programmes such as the Hinterland Scholarship Programme which has expanded over the years, the School Uniform Programme, economic assistance to single mothers, and skills training for youths all are aimed at tackling vulnerabilities and achieving human security.“This approach is in line with the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. Notwithstanding the fact that this social prevention approach has suffered a setback owing to opposition budget cuts, government is determined to attack vulnerabilities wherever it exists.“Unfortunately, the US assessment does not find any merit in this approach, yet in another strange twist of logic it highlights issues of vulnerabilities.“In so far as child labour is concerned, the Ministerial Task Force wishes to point out that even though child labour and trafficking in persons can overlap there are institutional arrangements in Guyana to address each of these issues.  In addressing child labour and human smuggling the Guyanese authorities would usually seek to establish where trafficking exists and vice versa. In fact, the US Report alluded to a raid where Law Enforcement officials targeted commercial premises used for prostitution.  While investigators did not find human trafficking, they however discovered breaches of Guyana’s Immigration Regulations.“In responding to the US Report, the Ministerial Task Force is obligated to defend our national image against unwarranted criticisms. While we applaud the efforts of the US to highlight this global issue, we encourage them to conduct more systematic research and be more objective in their analyses in future Reports.  The Task Force is also cognizant of the useful role the local media can play in sensitising Guyanese against menaces to human security such as human trafficking.  It is the intention of the Task Force to continue to engage the media constructively.“The Ministerial Task Force fully recognises the need for a robust response involving partnership among government agencies, and non-governmental stakeholders.  This is a key component of the 2012-2013 NPA which is built on the four Ps strategy: prevention, prosecution, protection and partnership. Thus the Task Force’s current focus is to implement the deliverables set out in the NPA, including reviewing and improving the protocol for victim identification and direct victim assistance and the training of first responders.“The Ministerial Task Force intends to work with other government agencies to employ a range of social prevention measures to reduce vulnerabilities wherever they exist. We anticipate a more constructive engagement between local stakeholders and US Government.  It would be remiss of us not to mention the training support offered by the US to enhance local capabilities for responding to trafficking and to publicly express our gratitude.  We hope that such fruitful engagements will continue free of rancour and in the spirit of mutual respect.  The Ministerial Task Force on Trafficking in Persons is committed and stands ready to continue working with all stakeholders to raise public awareness of trafficking in persons in Guyana.Caribbean 360 News Share Sharing is caring!center_img Share 88 Views   no discussions Sharelast_img read more

Update on the latest in sports:

first_imgUpdate on the latest in sports: Injuries have caused Kirksey to play a total of nine games over the last two seasons.IOC-ATHLETE PROTESTIOC could allow stronger protests by athletes at OlympicsGENEVA (AP) — During a global wave of demonstrations against racism, the IOC says it’s opening talks that could let athletes make stronger protests at the Olympic Games.Only five months ago the Olympic body strengthened its ban on political statements by specifying that gestures such as taking a knee or raising a fist on a medal podium remain prohibited. Rory McIlroy said, “It’s going to be very easy to fall back into old habits” because it’s just what they’ve done. McIlroy said they’re having to figure it out as they go along.Players and caddies were among the essential personnel who were tested for the virus when they arrived, and Commissioner Jay Monahan said no one has tested positive.TENNIS-FEDERERFederer won’t return this yearLONDON (AP) — Roger Federer will miss whatever remains of the coronavirus-impacted 2020 tennis season because of a setback in his recovery from surgery on his right knee. US SOCCER-ANTHEMUS Soccer repeals rule that banned kneeling during anthemUNDATED (AP) — U.S. Soccer’s board of directors has voted to repeal a 2017 policy that required national team players to stand during the national anthem, a rule adopted after Megan Rapinoe kneeled in support of Colin Kaepernick. The board made the decision during a conference call. Rapinoe took a knee during the anthem at a pair of national team matches in 2016. She said she wanted to express solidarity with Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who silently took a knee during the national anthem before NFL games to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice.The U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, which includes current national team players Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger, as well as former players like Landon Donovan, called on U.S. Soccer to also apologize for the policy to foster a “positive relationship to exist going forward.”The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association also called for an apology from U.S. Soccer and a plan to substantively address racial inequality. Organizers added the two-time Wimbledon champion to play against a women’s lineup of Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic.Haas hasn’t played since 2017 and is tournament director of the Indian Wells event. He was added to a men’s tournament alongside Dominic 8, Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios and Jannik Sinner.One more player is still to be announced for each of the men’s and women’s events.Organizers plan to play on grass from July 13-15 and then on hard courts from July 17-19. No fans are expected to be able to attend amid the coronavirus pandemic.TENNIS-US OPEN Associated Press Brown president Christina H. Paxson wrote in a letter to the campus community she had received strong feedback against the original decision.NCAA TOURNAMENT-IDAHORights groups, athletes ask NCAA to move tourney from IdahoBOISE, Idaho (AP) — Groups that advocate for civil rights and women’s rights have joined notable athletes in asking the NCAA to move the first and second rounds of the 2021 men’s basketball tournament out of Idaho after the state passed a law banning transgender women from competing in women’s sports.A letter sent and signed by a list of professional athletes including Megan Rapinoe, Billie Jean King, Jason Collins and Sue Bird calls for the NCAA to move the games set to be held next March at Boise State University. The 20-time major champion had arthroscopic surgery on his knee in February. Federer posted a statement on Twitter to say he needed an “additional quick arthroscopic procedure” and will take his time to return to 100% fitness.The 38-year-old Federer had initially planned to be sidelined for at least four months but has barely missed any elite tennis since his surgery because the tour has been suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic. TENNIS-KVITOVATwo-time Wimbledon champ added to exhibition lineupUNDATED (AP) — Petra Kvitova will play at a tennis exhibition event next month in Berlin and Tommy Haas will come out of retirement to join in. 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NASCAR says the Confederate flag runs contrary to their commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, competitors and the industry.NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from its races and properties on Wednesday, formally distancing itself from what for many is a symbol of slavery and racism that had been a familiar sight at stock car events for more than 70 years.The move comes amid social unrest around the globe following the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis. Protests have roiled the nation for days and Confederate monuments are being taken down across the South — the traditional fan base for NASCAR.Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s lone black driver, called this week for the banishment of the Confederate flag and said there was “no place” for them in the sport. At long last, NASCAR obliged.Former chairman Brian France tired in 2015 to ban the flying of Confederate flags at race tracks, a proposal too broad to enforce and one that angered NASCAR’s core Southern-based fan base. The Idaho law applies to all sports teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities. A girls’ or women’s team will not be open to transgender students who identify as female.NFL-PANTHERS-RICHARDSON STATUECHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A statue of former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has been removed from the spot where it stood outside the team’s stadium for nearly 25 years.A team statement said that it was concerned about possible attempts to take it down. The team didn’t say where the statue would be relocated.Richardson announced in 2017 that he was putting the team up for sale after a Sports Illustrated report, citing unidentified sources, said he made sexually suggestive comments to women and directed a racial slur at an African American team scout. 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The school president said dropping the teams to club status would have had a negative effect on efforts to build and maintain diversity on campus, particularly for African Americans.The reversal came two weeks after the school announced it would reduce its number of varsity sports from 38 to 29 in a move designed to make the Bears more competitive in the Ivy League. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-TIGERS-TORKELSONTigers draft Arizona State slugger Torkelson with No. 1 pickDETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers selected Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson with the No. 1 pick Wednesday night in the Major League Baseball amateur draft. The baseball-bashing Torkelson played first base in college but was announced as a third baseman by Commissioner Rob Manfred. Detroit opened the draft for the second time in three years. Torkelson hit 54 home runs at Arizona State and finished just two shy of Bob Horner’s school record. Those three months wiped out three majors from the qualifying period. It all depends on whether the Ryder Cup is played as scheduled. A decision is expected by the end of the month.Players lost nine events that offered qualifying points.The change also means Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods are now outside the automatic qualifiers although qualifying is just over 60% completed.GOLF-COLONIALGolf passes initial test with no positive results from virus FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The PGA Tour is not simply picking up where it left off.Very little about the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial resembles the opening round of The Players Championship on March 12, the last professional golf played before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down golf and most everything else.Players return to a new set of rules, starting with mandatory tests for the coronavirus when they first arrive and having their temperatures taken before they can get to the parking lot.On the course, players are to make every effort to practice social distancing and show best practices for playing golf.But Wednesday’s activity was not a good start. Players and caddies exchanged clubs (players are supposed to handle the clubs themselves). Caddies were not wiping down the flagsticks or bunker rakes after use. Social distancing felt more like a guideline. ZION WILLIAMSON-LEGAL WOES CONTINUEWilliamson attorney: allegations of ineligibility ‘baseless’UNDATED (AP) — Attorneys for NBA rookie Zion Williamson’s former marketing agent are continuing their legal push to examine whether the former Duke All-American accepted improper benefits before playing for the Blue Devils. In a court filing Tuesday in the North Carolina case, Prime Sports-Ford attorneys continued to argue that last summer’s No. 1 overall NBA draft pick didn’t meet the definition of a student-athlete because he was “ineligible/permanently ineligible” to play college sports.The filing references housing for Williamson’s family during his time with the Blue Devils as well as three luxury SUVs registered by his mother and stepfather between December 2017 and April 2019 — the latter being the same month Williamson announced he would go pro before ultimately being picked by the New Orleans Pelicans.The argument about Williamson’s eligibility is center of the legal fight over Williamson’s endorsement potential. June 10, 2020last_img read more