…effective national response to human trafficking needed Prosecution has a vital role to play in countering and deterring the issue of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) here in Guyana. That is according to Social Protection Minister, Amna Ally, at a discussion on the prosecution of TIP cases in Guyana which was held on Saturday last.She stated that the crime of TIP is a serious violation of human rights and that the problem of human trafficking requires wide train work enforcement officials.“It is important to mention that so many actors involved in responding to human trafficking in Guyana, the Government recognises the value of the standardised and harmonised responses…prosecutors, social workers, medical practitioners among others who are sensitive to the issues…No single stakeholder can effectively combat human trafficking…”Minister Ally explained that investigation, prosecution and punishment of offenders are crucial aspects of ensuring that there is an effective national response to TIP.“Strong prosecutions…can also help to ensure for justice for those who have been trafficked. I believe that an effective criminal justice response to trafficking functions is an effective to future trafficking and is, therefore, is an important aspect of prevention,” she said.According to the Minister, the role of prosecution in the matter of counter-TIP in Guyana, cannot be overlooked.“It is the prosecutor who knows how to advise the investigator, how to marshal the evidence. How to obtain assistance from other sources, how to present a case and how to deal with challenges in the court mounted by defence lawyers… Corruption and weak institutional institutions are additional factors that directly contradict to inadequate criminal justice responses, the lack of experience and exposure among criminal justice agencies etc.”She emphasised that human trafficking is a fundamental obstacle to her Ministry’s mandate as a social service agency; one which undermines the developmental objective that it hopes to achieve through the Ministry’s programmes.“It impedes health, economic growth, rule of law, women’s empowerment and lifetime prospects for youth. I am of the perception that successful convictions of offenders, redress of grievances as well as the protection of the rights of victims, and prevention of crimes of trafficking are possible when first responders and particularly law enforcement, prosecutors, and even Magistrates perform their task diligently,” said Minister Ally.She explained that within the past few years Guyana has made significant strides to counter trafficking in persons and that this has been recognised internationally.However, the Social Protection Minister also noted that a coordinated and harmonised response by all stakeholders is needed in order to maintain these strides and do much better in eradicating the scourge of TIP.Minister Ally added that the judicial system along with other stakeholders need to do what is necessary to protect the vulnerable victims of TIP but more importantly, each TIP case needs to be handled effectively whether it is in the courtroom or not.