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Nepalese being trafficked through Guyana

The Guyana government on Wednesday said it believed that a large number of Nepalese coming to the South American country were being trafficked, in the wake of two sets of South Asians  being here in recent months.

“Based on these details regarding the conduct of a number of Nepalese Nationals in Guyana and their travel patterns compared with the case involving Nepalese Nationals in the High Court, the Ministry of Home Affairs has concluded that these individuals were intended to be victims of trafficking in persons,” said the Home Affairs Ministry in a statement.

Following is the full text of that statement:

The Ministry of Home Affairs wishes to inform the general public of the status of the case involving twelve (12) Nepalese Nationals who were arrested at the Charity Police Station, Essequibo Coast on December 4, 2014 and charged with
Illegal Departure.

The individuals initially arrived in Guyana legally in the month of November, 2014. Four (4) of them were granted two (2) weeks stay in the country while six (6) were granted three (3) weeks, and two (2), one month. While in Guyana on their initial stay, the Nepalese Nationals stayed at Aracari Resort, West Bank Demerara.

However, the individuals left Guyana illegally during this time period and were intercepted in Venezuela where they were deported to Guyana – their last port-of-entry.

On December 8, 2014, the Nepalese Nationals were all charged with ‘Failing to present oneself to an Immigration Officer; Contrary to Section 10, Subsection 3 of the Immigration Act Chapter 14:02’ when they illegally departed for Venezuela.

The individuals appeared in the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court, where they pled guilty. The Nepalese Nationals were fined G$30,000 or two (2) months imprisonment on December 11, 2014 and were made to remain in Police Custody
pending deportation.

The fine was paid and the Nepalese Nationals remained in Police Custody until a Writ was filed on their behalf by a person who resides in Guyana for their release. 

On February 6, 2015, the High Court officially  overruled the decision made in the Magistrate’s court to have the Nepalese Nationals remain in the custody of the Police, stating that it was, inter alia, ‘unlawful’ and ‘devoid of natural justice
principles’.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is aware of and concerned about the large numbers of Nepalese travelling to Guyana and their purposes for travelling. The Ministry has received intelligence which indicated that from October 14-17, 2014 a group

of fourteen (14) Nepalese Nationals – ten (10) males and four (4) females – were encountered in Mabaruma, Region 1, domiciled in two (2) hotels.

According to the report, the majority of these individuals were housed in the Tourist Resort Hotel with their rooms padlocked from the outside. Further, the Hotel operator refused to reveal why the doors were locked in such a way. Adding
to the suspicion was the fact that these individuals reportedly did not know when they were scheduled to depart Mabaruma, or Guyana for that matter, and claimed to be tourists but did not engage in tourist related activities. 

More revealing was the fact that the Nepalese Nationals were not employed in Mabaruma yet their rooms were paid for in cash each day, using US currency.

It is the Ministry of Home Affairs’ policy to take strong and decisive action against any person(s) involved in trafficking in persons.

The general public is encouraged to contact the trafficking in persons hotline on 227-4083 or the nearest Police Station if indications of possible acts of trafficking in persons are observed, while giving all consideration to your personal safety.