A series of sensitisation workshops will be held in Region Nine communities by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs to address issues related to labour including human trafficking among others.
The workshops will focus on basic human rights and responsibilities, domestic violence, drug and alcohol and sexual abuse. Senior Welfare Officer, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Pauline Welch said these exercises aim to inform citizens of their rights and responsibilities.
Pauline Welch, Senior Welfare Officer of the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs
The Ministry has budgeted $5M for the sensitisation workshops in the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo Region, beginning in July.
“We are here to help you access services the Ministry cannot provide, that is needed to make your lives better. We can help you to get these services or guide you in the right direction, to be able to access these services,” Welch told residents during an outreach last Friday in Annai.
Welch explained that one particular issue of concern is treatment of indigenous people in the mining sector. She pointed out that men are lured into the “backdam” by handsome salaries, but end up working for months without payment.
The Welfare Officer urged persons to get the correct name of their employers, contact information, dredge number, location of the dredge and get their privileges from the Mines Office at the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).
Addressing Trafficking In Persons (TIP), Welch noted that the Ministry is a part of the Ministerial Task Force on the issue and explained that statistics emanating from the reports reveal that, “a lot of the alleged victims are persons from the interior, a lot of times these crimes are committed in the hinterland, sometimes persons right in your community, are taken or they willingly go under false pretence and they are trafficked.”
The Ministry is collaborating with the Ministries of Social Protection and Public Health to address the issues related to labour and sexual health.
Similar sensitisation workshops were conducted in Regions 1, 7 and 8, in 2016 as part of efforts to better inform and educate the hinterland residents.