U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Guyana

Guyana (Tier 2 Watch List)

Guyana is principally a source country for men, women, and children trafficked within the country for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most trafficking takes place in remote mining camps in the country's interior. Amerindian girls from the interior also are trafficked to coastal areas for sexual exploitation, and young Amerindian men are exploited under forced labor conditions in timber camps. In some instances, victims are abducted. Guyanese women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation to neighboring countries such as Suriname, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Brazil, and the United States.

The Government of Guyana does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Guyana is placed on Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking in persons over the past year, particularly in terms of convicting and sentencing human traffickers for their crimes. In the coming year, the government should aggressively investigate and arrest suspected traffickers, and make every effort to move their cases through the criminal justice system. The government also should expand training for judges and magistrates who handle trafficking cases, especially in remote areas, where the bulk of trafficking occurs.


The government made limited law-enforcement progress against traffickers over the last year. The Government of Guyana prohibits all forms of trafficking through its comprehensive Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act, which became law in 2005. This law prescribes punishment ranging from three years to life imprisonment, penalties which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for rape and other grave crimes. However, the government has yet to obtain an anti-trafficking conviction. Six criminal cases were opened against alleged traffickers in 2006: two cases were dismissed, and four are pending. This represents a modest increase from 2005, when three prosecutions were initiated. Prosecutors report that rural magistrates remain unfamiliar with the new trafficking law, and cases tried in the capital move at a slow pace due to the judicial backlog. In the coming year, the government should intensify its efforts to expedite cases against traffickers, as recently emphasized by Guyana's newly appointed Minister of Human Services and Social Security; she has called for speedy trials in trafficking cases, and urged police to do more to encourage reporting of trafficking crimes. Technical training should be expanded to reach officials in rural areas. Guyanese law enforcement officials worked with counterparts in neighboring countries to share information on international trafficking cases and to assist victims. There was reliable evidence of some public complicity in trafficking by lower-level officials, and a conspiracy charge was filed against a police officer for such an offense in 2006.


The Government of Guyana made modest progress in providing victim assistance during the reporting period. It included limited NGO funding assistance in its 2007 budget and provided training for police and public officials on identifying trafficking victims. In June 2006, six police officers and two officers from the Counter-Trafficking Unit participated in an anti-trafficking training program organized by IOM. Victims' rights are generally respected, and there were no reports of victims being penalized for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Guyanese authorities encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers.


The government sustained prevention efforts during the reporting period. It continued awareness campaigns via print and radio media and launched a widespread anti-trafficking education effort before the Cricket World Cup in April 2007.


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