TIP Award Year:
The 26 years she spent working in the mining sector opened Simona Broomes eyes to the exploitation of women and girls in human trafficking situations among mining communities. In these communities, they are exploited for a variety of purposes including forced labor and sexual exploitation. In 2012, Ms. Broomes started the Guyana Women Miner’s Association (GWMO) to combat human trafficking within mining communities. They have rescued girls and women, provided aftercare services, sent survivors to school, and advocated heavily at the regional and national levels. They have also attempted to advocate for women at all levels, including in the national mining association, which currently has not allowed women to sit on the board. She fights both for the eradication of human trafficking and for the empowerment of women in Guyana. Her organization broke new ground in Guyana, and has advocated for a variety of issues. They have assisted in combatting human trafficking, identifying traffickers, protecting and supporting survivors, and they have also advocated for the rights of women miner’s, including better job training and better job mobility. Despite threats against her life, and one actual physical assault, she continues to advocate in Guyana for women’s rights in the mining sector, and for the eradication of human trafficking. She recently ran for a place in the government, and currently serves Guyana as the Minister of the Ministry of Social Protection. In that capacity, she regularly inspects factories and interacts with workers.
In the 2014 TIP Report, Guyana was listed on the Tier 2 Watch List. It is a source and a destination country for both forced labor and sex trafficking. The mining industry was singled out in the report as being a hotbed of human trafficking in the country, although trafficking occurs elsewhere including in the cities as well. The government of Guyana should improve its prosecution of traffickers, and services to victim. While the laws are adequate, implementation is lacking.