August 23, 2014

Women miners discuss fighting TIP with U.S. officials

Leaders of the Guyana Women Miners’ Organisation (GWMO), which represents the rights of women miners and others who work in hinterland communities, met with Ambassador D Brent Hardt and other U. S. embassy officials last Wednesday. In a release, the U. S. embassy said that GWMO President Simona Broomes presented an overview of the organisation’s goals, which include highlighting the roles and contributions of women miners, calling attention to the challenges they face; helping to secure financing and access to credit; establishing standardised procedures for resolving challenges; and addressing issues of abuse, trafficking in persons, and forced prostitution.

U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, D Brent Hardt and his deputy, Thomas Pierce pose with members of the Women Miners’ Organisation

Broomes and her colleagues shared perspectives with the ambassador about the issue of trafficking in persons (TIP) in mining communities and how the GWMO has assisted victims of this crime. She said that the organisation seeks to strengthen its network of support to counter TIP in the mining communities.

Ambassador Hardt praised this engagement on behalf of victims, observing that meeting the challenge from TIP requires the active engagement and collaboration of dedicated NGOs, such as the Miners’ Association, working in close cooperation with the government and the international community.

He noted, as President Obama has stated, that the United States “stand(s) with those throughout the world who are working every day to end modern slavery, bring traffickers to justice, and empower survivors to reclaim their rightful freedom”.

The ambassador added that trafficking is a global problem, and that close collaboration with grassroots organisations such as the Guyana Women Miners’ Association, in combination with a victim-centred approach, will help ensure that every man, woman, and child is free from trafficking in persons. The ambassador assured Broomes that the U.S. embassy looks forward to supporting GWMO’s interaction with its network of TIP partner organisations and institutions in order to more comprehensively address trafficking in persons.