October 24, 2014

GWMO to continue with TIP fight

Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) President Simona Broomes said she will continue the fight against Trafficking in

GWMO President Simona Broomes (centre) with members of her organisation during a welcome-back ceremony on Tuesday

GWMO President Simona Broomes (centre) with members of her organisation during a welcome-back ceremony on Tuesday

Persons (TIP) in Guyana, despite the challenges that confront her organisation. Broomes made this statement during a press conference hosted by the GWMO on Thursday, to welcome her back home, after she was honoured by the United States State Department for her work.

“I am ready to work with all organisations, that is why we are calling on them to work with us to address this issue and bring an end to modern-day slavery,” she stated.

Support needed

The GWMO head said after participating in a conference in the U.S., she is better equipped to deal with issues related to TIP. According to her, the GWMO will arrange to meet with President Donald Ramotar, Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, and other key agencies to garner their support in this fight. While the GWMO has not had much support from law enforcement in the past, Broomes is hoping that this has changed and the needed support is given to end this scourge.

Broomes stated that the challenges are many when it comes to security, transportation, and facilities. While the organisation has been using its own resources to fight TIP, there will be need for private sector and government support to effectively address the issue.

Nonetheless, the GWMO, she said, will do its best to ensure that once a case of human trafficking is reported, it is investigated and the necessary support provided using the resources that are available to the organisation.

The GWMO head pointed out that her organisation was not responsible for Guyana being placed on the Tier Two Watch List in the annual U.S. TIP report, but it is committed to combating TIP and helping Guyana become a Tier One country. According to her, this can be achieved, but only through a collaborative effort between organisations like the GWMO and government. On this note, Broomes said, a team effort is needed to address it holistically.

She also reiterated her call for persons involved in TIP to be prosecuted. She said those persons committing these crimes should be brought to justice. “…I was physically harassed and assaulted, risking my life to rescue girls and nothing has happened to the persons who have done this to me and to these girls,” she said. Despite providing all the information to the police, no arrests were not made nor were persons questioned.

Special training

The GWMO leader noted that Guyana should seize the opportunity to have local personnel trained to deal with TIP. She said the U.S. model is a unique one that can be adopted, where police officers, prosecutors, and other legal professionals are specially trained in that area. There was a recent training for members of the judiciary on TIP.

Meanwhile, Broomes noted that the GWMO is still looking at the option of building a home to house victims of TIP, with the support of the local private sector and government. She said these mechanisms are important in helping to address TIP in Guyana from all perspectives.

While the GWMO’s main responsibility is to protect the rights of women miners, the organisation has also been working to stamp out TIP, especially since the illegal activity is more prevalent in mining communities. The organisation, which was  formed one year ago, has since made headway in addressing some key issues faced by women in the gold mining industry and plans to continue on this path in spite of the fact it is not funded or supported financially by government or any other organisation.

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