Having recently re-read the horrors of sexual violence against women at Nanking in 1937 and the current status of many women in Haiti ( where there has been an increase in the birth rate due to rape), it would be easy to imagine sexual violence against women in times of man made strife or in the aftermath of natural disasters. But just as easily, one must comprehend that such will be the case where this violence insiduously inveigles its way into the very fabric of everyday life.
Close on the heels of the new conversation on Domestic Violence initiated by the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, comes the report by the US Department of State, that human trafficking of Guyanese women and children continues unabated. It also notes that, despite a few minor efforts, the Government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of Human Trafficking.
Women are sometimes trafficked by family members. Guyanese nationals have been sexually exploited in other regions of the Carribean as well. Young Amerindian women have been trafficked far into the interior where it has been difficult for law enforcement agencies to reach them. They are lured with the prospect of jobs as waitresses or domestic house help but end up being sexually exploited.
As per the U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006, with sexual trafficking of women comes asociated the concomitant problem of violence against women, when they are kept in bonded servitude, intimidated and threatened as well as physically abused. Most victims according to the report were exposed to the same health risks as sex workers and other victims of sexual exploitation. According to the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), the average conviction rate in rape cases was 1.4%. between 2000 and 2004.
Although the Government has been highly critical of the report on human trafficking by the US Department of State, it might just be the timely kick in the groin to acknowledge that there is an elephant in the room.