Women's Issues In Guyana

Prostitution, unemployment threatens hinterland

Posted in Crimes against Women by wiig on March 13, 2006
Tags: , , ,

Kaieteur News – March 13, 2006

Many young hinterland girls seeking to escape the pangs of poverty might be lured into the realm of prostitution.

This is according to a report by the Ministry of Human Services on issues affecting residents of Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo).
The residents also complained of crucial issues including lack of transportation and health care. The report stated that issues of poverty, inadequate health care and the effects of school dropouts are tremendously impacting the community.

Residents claim that many youngsters travel to neighbouring Brazil to seek employment as ranchers and domestics in order to support their families back home.

Others gain employment as labourers or gold miners. Unemployment has caused young females to seek jobs at mining sites. The report added that this increases their vulnerability to the world of prostitution. The cost of living is reported to be high and some persons find employment in stores or opt for training as nurses or teachers. Many residents however, earn a living by farming, fishing or hunting.
Because Brazil has strict regulations regarding trade, the farmers are forced to seek markets within their community.

There is little entertainment besides bars where residents congregate to party as their only source of recreation. At present, there is no resident doctor in the region but medics are located in South Central, Deep South, North Rupununi and South Pakaraima. Residents of Region Nine obtain health care from Brazil in cases of emergency when the sick can be taken to Boa Vista.

The report said that Aishalton and Lethem residents have access to x-rays, dentistry, immunization and maternal health care. Despite the poor standard of living, the region produces many female teachers who benefit from the distance training offered by the Cyril Potter College of Education in Rupununi. Secondary schools are currently located at St. Ignatius, Aishalton and Annai.

Students have also been producing good results at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams. Some are given scholarships to further their academic skills while others are offered places at Georgetown schools. The main method of communication is through radio sets but Lethem recently benefited from telephone services. Those with access to television are only able to view Portuguese broadcasts and newspapers are obtained once weekly.

Though not on a 24-hour basis, there is an available source of electricity at Aishalton, Annai and Lethem. The women have been benefiting from help and donations offered by various government and non-governmental organisations. The report said that at least 60 percent of the women’s groups have received materials for sewing, hammocks, bed nets, craft and embroidery. They also received support in establishing kitchen gardens.

An ongoing problem is obtaining adequate modes of transportation to cover the vast distances. Villagers travel from place to place mostly by walking or riding on bull-drawn carts. Others use motorcycles or bicycles bought from Brazil and drive vehicles in the rugged terrain.
The cost by air from Lethem to Georgetown (return) is $36,000 while the cost by bus stands at $16,000. However, when the road is deemed inaccessible, fares are often increased.


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