Women's Issues In Guyana

Minister Shadick says… 
Cases of children marrying mature men startling

– perpetrators to be charged

Kaieteur News – September 30, 2005

Minister of Human Services and Social Security Bibi Shadick has expressed outrage at cases that have come to her Ministry of older men marrying school-girls with the consent of parents, who receive monthly payments for this arrangement.

The minister described this arrangement and human trafficking as annoying unacceptable trends.

“…We had to rescue the child who was married to a 73-year-old man…the judge has awarded the Ministry custody, so we are now responsible for sending her to school since she fears returning home to the same situation,” Minister Shadick said yesterday.

She stated that there was another instance of a child-marriage in Port Kaituma.

“We have found that these parents are collecting monetary payment in exchange for their children. I can’t understand that…and we don’t know how many cases exist,” Minister Shadick said.

She disclosed that the Ministry is working along with the police to have the perpetrators charged.

Shadick made these revelations at the re-launch of “Woman Powah”, a quarterly newsletter produced by the National Resource Documentation Centre for Gender and Development.

Shadick noted that the Ministry exhibits the same concern for women living in domestic violence.

Responding to questions on the issue, the Minister pointed out that the government has approved the refurbishment of Help and Shelter, which now extends its services to victims of human trafficking.

She isolated one case where the Ministry has undertaken to acquire a house lot and solicit the help of Food for the Poor to construct a home for a mother of seven living in an abusive home.

“We do that all the time…when you move around and you encounter people who are in difficult circumstances it affects you personally,” Shadick remarked.

Minister Shadick said the Ministry has embarked on a series of projects aimed at training field volunteers and workers to detect and deal with human trafficking, violent domestic situations and child abuse.

She plans to meet with Touchaus in Amerindian communities to ensure that rules and regulations unique to Amerindians are now governed by the laws of Guyana .

“We must ensure that people who live in Amerindian villages are treated equally as those living outside of the villages,” Shadick said


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