As the government continues in its efforts to end the scourge of human trafficking in Guyana, health practitioners were the latest beneficiaries of training to assist victims of human trafficking. The three day training saw over 20 participants from various regions across Guyana.
Hon. Amna Ally, Minister of Social Protection
Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally speaking Wednesday at the closing ceremony , at the Herdmanston Lodge said, “This government has recognised human trafficking as a fundamental concern and because of the likelihood that victims will require health services, we will invest in initiatives to assist the victims.”
Human trafficking is harmful and deadly, Minister Ally pointed out that victims are often enticed by jobs and hope for an improved life but instead are faced with physical violence, sexual abuse and even psychological violence. She noted that men and children are also victims of human trafficking as are women and girls.
“Trafficking in persons must not be condoned and is a violation of human rights…. victims are usually marginalised in ethnicity and from remote hinterland areas; therefore, the training of these, health practitioners is timely and important for our victims,” Minister Ally said.
Since human trafficking is widespread, health providers may often come into contact with a victim therefore, the health providers must be able to detect signs of trafficking, the Minister said. Health care providers must also have the expertise to interview victims to better assist them. Ally highlighted that the medical practitioners must be cognisant that victims deserve and are entitled to support and assistance when they come into contact with them.
“Informed healthcare providers can play an important role in assisting a victim…human trafficking is a major public health problem, victims sustain injuries and illnesses that health centres have to address and if health providers are poorly trained for these issues, a case can be compromised, leaving victims feeling a sense of hopelessness,” Minister Ally explained.
Speaking on the timeliness of the training, Ally reiterated that the training is necessary, as she recalled that there has been limited training in the health sector to support participation in the survival and in the counter of trafficking response.
Therefore, through this training health practitioners have a unique opportunity to provide essential medical care and vital referral options towards safety and recovery for victims, the Minister pointed out.
Minister Ally also urged the participants to use the knowledge gained to provide improved health care for trafficked persons when they are in their care. She also encouraged them to be professional and confidential when handling data provided.
Meanwhile, Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Robert Natiello congratulated the government for this initiative and urged the participants to go out and assist victims of human trafficking. He explained that IOM has vast expertise in Trafficking in Persons and has been working on Trafficking in Persons since the 1990s globally and in the Caribbean.
Natiello said that IOM looks forward to continue supporting the government in its quest to eliminate human trafficking.