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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                         

Co-operative Republic of Guyana

The Guyanese economy exhibited moderate economic growth in recent years and is based largely on agriculture and extractive industries. The economy is heavily dependent upon the export of six commodities - sugar, gold, bauxite, shrimp, timber, and rice - which represent nearly 60% of the country's GDP and are highly susceptible to adverse weather conditions and fluctuations in commodity prices.

Chronic problems include a shortage of skilled labor and a deficient infrastructure.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Guyana

Guyana is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor … Women and girls are lured with offers of well-paying jobs, and are subsequently exploited and controlled through threats, withholding of pay or insufficient pay, and physical violence. In coastal areas, traffickers promise rural women and girls jobs as domestic servants, then coerce them into working in shops or homes for little or no pay, or sell them to brothels. Many trafficking victims along the coast are Amerindian teenagers, targeted by traffickers because of poor education and job prospects in their home regions.   - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here or a full TIP Report here



CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Guyana.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

HELP for Victims

Help & Shelter (NGO)
Country code: 592-



Trafficking in Persons: USAID’s Response [PDF]

United States International Development Agency USAID, March 2006

[accessed 15 August 2012]

[accessed 15 August 2012] – (SLOW LOADING)

[page 25] GUYANA: SHELTER FOR TRAFFICKING VICTIMS, TRAINING POLICE AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS, AND RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS - Much of the trafficking in Guyana involves AmerIndian girls and takes place from hinterland communities to transportation and commercial nodes in coastal and hinterland areas for prostitution and involuntary domestic servitude. Girls are duped into prostitution with promises of employment as waitresses and bar attendants at coastal establishments and in gold and diamond mining areas; young men are exploited under forced labor conditions in timber camps.


*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Guyana

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 8 June 2021]


Country experts reported that forced and compulsory labor occurred in the gold-mining, agriculture, and forestry sectors, as well as domestic servitude. Children were particularly vulnerable to human trafficking, including forced labor (see section 7.c.).


Child labor occurred and was most prevalent in farming, fishing, bars and restaurants, domestic work, and street vending. Small numbers of children also performed hazardous work in the construction, logging, farming, and mining industries. The government reported that incidences of the worst forms of child labor occurred, mainly in gold mining, prostitution (see section 6), and forced labor activities, including domestic servitude. According to local NGOs, children who worked in gold mines operated dangerous mining equipment and were exposed to hazardous chemicals, including mercury.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 28 April 2020]


Legal protections against exploitative working conditions are not enforced consistently. Those working in the informal sector and extractive industries in the country’s interior are particularly vulnerable to abuses.

The US State Department detailed Guyana’s continued efforts to address human trafficking in 2019, citing increased funding of victim assistance, training of officials, and the establishment of an antitrafficking unit in the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. However, victims who are men, children, or foreign nationals do not receive adequate support outside Georgetown, and screening procedures for foreign victims are not standardized. The number of victims from Venezuela has risen sharply in recent years.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 17 April 2019]

[accessed 28 April 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 489]

Children in Guyana, including girls as young as age 12, are involved in commercial sexual exploitation in Georgetown and the country’s interior. There are reports of young girls being subjected to commercial sexual exploitation in mining communities as a result of human trafficking. (2; 12; 7; 9) Children are engaged in informal, small scale mining in which they wash gold, operate dangerous machinery, and are exposed to hazardous chemicals. (7; 9).

Human Trafficking Concerns in the Commonwealth Caribbean: the 2009 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report in focus [PDF]

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) London

[accessed 8 February 2011]


4. It is concerning that Guyana has been placed on Tier 2 of the Watch List for a third consecutive year. The evidence presented shows a persistent failing to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat trafficking, particularly in the area of law enforcement actions against trafficking offenders. Although, the government of Guyana has increased support for victims of trafficking its enforcement remains poor.  Guyana has yet to prosecute any trafficking offenders under its 2005 anti-trafficking law.

5. Guyana is a source, transit, and destination country for people (including children) trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour. According to the TIP Report official reporting of human trafficking is limited; the majority of trafficking appears to take place in remote mining camps where Amerindian girls are trafficked to brothels near the camps and to coastal areas for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Also, young Amerindian men are exploited for forced labour. Other countries trafficking reports point to the trafficking of Guyanese women and girls for sexual exploitation to neighbouring countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Suriname, and Venezuela. Reports also indicate that Guyanese men and boys are subject to labour exploitation in construction and agriculture in these same countries. Trafficking victims from Suriname, Brazil, and Venezuela transit Guyana en route to Caribbean destinations.

6. According to the TIP Report, the Government of Guyana does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; furthermore the report has found cases of official complicity in human trafficking.

U.S. Report On Human Trafficking Reveals  Scope Of Modern-Day Slavery

David Gollust, Voice of America VOA News, Washington DC, June 3, 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

He said several countries listed in the bottom category last year, including Guyana and Bangladesh, were moved up this year because of remedial steps.

Government Information Agency

[access date unavailable]

[scroll down]

US HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT HIGHLIGHTS PROGRESS IN FIGHT AGAINST TIP - GEORGETOWN, GINA, MARCH 06, 2007 - The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has been actively involved in sensitization campaigns countrywide, informing Guyanese on ways to protect themselves, and what measures to take if they become a victim.

Guyana accuses US of being unfair in report on human trafficking

Agence France-Presse AFP, Georgetown, June 17, 2004

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Shadick said Guyanese police and other authorities have been raiding mining camps and other areas to rescue mainly indigenous women from prostitution, cheap and forced labour, as well as prosecuting offenders under existing laws.

Moving Up The Tiers

Guyana Chronicle, July 23rd, 2004

[accessed 15 July 2013]

[scroll down]

With the release of the report the government was quick to counter that it had been addressing the problem in spite of the daunting difficulties the State Department report recognized.

There is no evidence that trafficking in persons here is in any way near the proportions that it is elsewhere in the world but steps must be taken to root out the practice wherever it has sprung up in Guyana.

He added that once it has been recognised that the government has adopted measures that have been successfully implemented and create the requisite environment to deal with trafficking in persons, a reclassification “would be in order.”

Four Nations Move Against Trafficking in Response to U.S. Report

Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State, 10 September 2004

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Bangladesh, Ecuador, Guyana and Sierra Leone have acted rapidly over the last few months to reduce human trafficking in their borders. In so doing, they have avoided U.S.-imposed sanctions, according to a White House announcement September 10.

Guyana shocked

James Morrison, The Washington Times, August 31, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 5 September 2011]

"The initial reaction was one of shock," said Mr. Ishmael, the most senior Latin American or Caribbean envoy in Washington.

The ambassador noted that Guyana's minister of human services and social security, Bibi Shadick, complained that Washington failed to recognize the government's efforts to draw international attention to human trafficking in forums such as the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission of Women.  "Minister Shadick has personally plunged herself into a countrywide campaign to investigate the issue and to educate various communities in the remote interior of the country of problems associated with human trafficking," Mr. Ishmael said.  "This is very commendable since it is very unusual for a Cabinet minister in the Latin America and Caribbean region, or anywhere else, to be involved so directly in trying to stamp out a social scourge."

Guyana determined to combat TIP

Guyana Chronicle, June 20, 2004

[accessed 8 February 2011]

The Government is concerned about the increasing incidence of Trafficking in Persons that has been gripping the country. But it has not been silent on the issue.  In fact, it has adopted a proactive approach to effectively deal with the problem, according to Minister of Human Services and Social Security Bibi Shadick.  “We have been putting so much effort into this problem from the time we understood what it is,” she said.  She added that her Ministry’s Departments such as the Probation and Family Welfare and Labour Departments were always dealing with many TIP issues such as sexual exploitation.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 January 2004

[accessed 8 February 2011]

[49] The Committee expresses its concern at the increasing prevalence of child labour in the State party.


Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 28 April 2020]


Despite significant progress in recent years, disparities in opportunity continue to exist along geographical, racial, and gender lines.

The US State Department has praised improved government efforts to tackle human trafficking, citing increased prosecutions and convictions, although services and shelters outside the capital, and for children and male victims, are limited.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The country was a source and destination for trafficked women and children, although most trafficking in persons occurred internally. Trafficking reportedly took place in the interior, where there was little government oversight and law enforcement was lacking. Most trafficking originated in impoverished Amerindian communities, although some victims came from the larger coastal cities. Some women trafficked into the country came from the northern regions of neighboring Brazil. Some were trafficked specifically to work in the timber industry. A smaller number of women were trafficked into Suriname's sex trade. The majority of trafficked women and children were lured to mining camps deep in the interior beyond the reach of law enforcement. Reports indicated that trafficking victims were promised employment as highly paid domestic helpers, cooks, restaurant servers, and nude dancers. The victims were provided with barracks-style housing with cramped quarters and sometimes were locked inside. They were restrained through debt-bondage, intimidation, and physical abuse. Most victims were exposed to the same health risks as prostitutes and other victims of sexual exploitation, including sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 8 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - The Guyana Human Rights Association reported that there were cases where girls as young as 11 are recruited to work in bars and restaurants as prostitutes.  Children are also engaged in prostitution in ports, gold mining areas, and the capital city of Georgetown.  Young women and children are known to be trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation mostly within the country.

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