The government increased efforts to identify and protect victims. However, victim assistance remained a concern, especially in areas outside the capital and for Venezuelan, child, and male victims. The government identified 156 victims in 2018 (106 for sex trafficking and 50 for labor trafficking), compared with 131 identified victims in 2017. The government referred 93 victims to shelter and psychological services, compared with 115 in 2017. The government screened 11 potential child trafficking victims (10 sex trafficking and one labor trafficking) in 2018. Despite the noticeable increase of victims from Venezuela, the government lacked standard operating procedures for protecting foreign trafficking victims.
The government trained 43 village leaders, 20 mine inspectors, 32 immigration and police officers, and members of the business community and civil society in victim identification and referral. The government also trained 21 interpreters from foreign diplomatic missions in the trafficking law in order to prepare them to assist with non-English speaking trafficking victim interviews. The government provided 60 million Guyanese dollar (GYD) ($279,070) to NGO-managed shelters providing housing for adult female victims of gender-based violence and trafficking, an increase from 41.2 million GYD ($191,630) in 2017. The government also provided 3.5 million GYD ($16,280) for the first time in direct financial assistance to victims who chose not to stay in a shelter. Victims could receive shelter, food, training, and psychological therapy. There were no adequate public or private shelters for male or child victims, although the government has identified a facility for male victims. MoSP provided intake counselling to child victims who it placed in shelters co-managed with NGOs. MoSP placed some children into foster care or reintegrated them with their families, while authorities placed adult male victims at non-specialized night shelters on an ad hoc basis. Guyanese law protects victims’ identities from release to the media. The government reported victims could leave shelters; however, observers reported police and other authorities intimidated victims into staying at shelters against their will, did not allow family visits until trials were completed, and cut short some foreign victims’ phone calls if they spoke in their native language. NGOs and MoSP provided protection and counseling for all identified victims, while the government provided transportation for victims who declined shelter but were willing to attend court proceedings. The government reported multiple cases of delivering foreign victims to their respective embassies at the request of the foreign missions before the conclusion of prosecutions. The government did not report whether it facilitated or funded the repatriation of Guyanese nationals victimized abroad.