Some 131 women have been trafficked between January and June 2019.This was revealed by the Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, who during remarks at the opening of a one-day training session for education personnel on Trafficking in Persons (TIP), said that the victims were from 18 reported cases of TIP.Slavery – Human TraffickingThese cases, according to the Minister, stemmed from Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Four (Demerara- Mahaica) and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). He added that sadly, these women were being trafficked mostly for the purpose of smuggling drugs, prostitution, and even forced labour.The Minister was keen to note that Indigenous persons are more at risk of being trafficked because of their vulnerability.He, nevertheless, added that the risk of human trafficking remains a real concern for all parts of Guyana.On this note, the importance of the training for education personnel, inclusive of welfare officers and guidance counsellors, was underscored.The facilitator of the training session, Daniel Griffith, explained the reason for the training of these officers.“We recognise that anyone can become a victim, including adolescents, hence the need for this training. In essence, this training today will primarily be aimed at equipping guidance counsellors and welfare officers with the working knowledge on Trafficking in Persons, victim identification, assistance and referrals,” Griffith said.ProsecutionMost victims of human trafficking, when rescued, often long to meet their families. This urge often gets in the way of prosecution, given that Guyana’s judicial system generally takes a while to handle such cases.This was pointed out by Ramjattan on the side-lines of the event. He explained, “When the trails come on it’s very difficult. We are trying to have a witness protection thing so that we can keep them in Guyana, but it is very costly because sometimes the cases take years”.When it comes to dealing with such cases in a timely manner, the subject Minister admitted that the country “needs to step up its game”.One alternative, he said, is for witnesses to “Skype” their testimonies to aid in prosecuting the perpetrators.Last year, Guyana recorded 156 cases of TIP, which already does not spell well for the country, with 131 cases already recorded.The growing phenomena is the second most profitable illegal business in the country, with drugs taking the lead spot.Just in March, the owner of Love Bar, Savita Persaud, was remanded to prison for unlawfully recruiting and transporting Venezuelans for sexual exploitation.The defendant was also slapped with two counts of Trafficking in Persons during the same period. Additionally, she was charged with employing a child on a property that sells liquor.Attorney George Thomas, in a bail submission, told the Court that his client rented the property to the Venezuelans and is innocent of the trafficking accusations.However, the Prosecutor opposed bail on the grounds of the serious nature, prevalence and the penalty that the offence attracts.