ELEVEN suspected victims of human-trafficking are now in protective care after the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Unit of the Ministry of Social Protection raided the Rio Night club Wednesday evening.According to a source close to the operation, 15 women were removed from the strip club during the late-night operation and three men were arrested. However, by Thursday evening three of the women were given clearance to leave the safe house while 11 remained at the facility.
This newspaper understands that all of the women are above the age of 18; however, they are not Guyanese and had no form of legal permits in the form of passports to be in the country. It is suspected that these women, who performed as strippers in the club in exchange for cash, hail from The Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Brazil and Suriname. However, their nationalities have not been disclosed.
Reports reaching this newspaper also indicate that the ministry has shut down the club. During an anti-human trafficking forum last week at the Ocean View Hotel, Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence, had said that government will spare no effort in its quest to bring human traffickers to justice.
“We have to ensure that we find these perpetrators, irrespective of who they are, rich or poor, high or low, we have to and we must bring them to justice,” the Social Protection Minister stated as she addressed representatives from local and international, non-governmental and governmental organisations.
D James Bjorkman, the U.S. Embassy Political and Economic Section Chief said that though Guyana is making progress in its fight to combat human-trafficking, it remains a source and destination for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour.
“Women and children from Guyana, Brazil, The Dominican Republic, Suriname, and Venezuela are subjected to sex-trafficking in mining communities in the interior and urban areas,” he said.