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Brazilian Police Investigate Human Trafficking Gang Which Uses Guyana as Transit Point

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29th of January, 2022. Guyana, South America

Last updated: January 29, 2022 at 18:43 pm

After two victims of a criminal international human trafficking gang escaped and sought help from the Brazilian authorities, the Brazilian Military Police has launched an investigation into a criminal gang which traffics people from the Middle East and the continent of Asia to the south of Brazil. After taking large sums of money under the guise of bringing them to greener pastures, the traffickers exploit their clients and turn them into victims of human trafficking.

Investigations have revealed so far that most of the victims are from Bangladesh – an overpopulated and largely impoverished country in South Asia.

Guyana shares a generous 1,600 km border with Brazil, most of which is separated by river. At some points, the river is so swallow that it is possible to walk over from one country to another. Most of the border between Guyana and Brazil is unmonitored, making it easy for illegal immigrants to cross from one country to the other unflagged. Further, documents of persons traveling between the freezone of Lethem and Bonfim are generally not checked at the border, making it easy for the criminals to pass undetected.

According to the Brazilian Police, the traffickers charge their victims approximately US$20,000 in exchange for the promise of a better life in Brazil. They then fly the victims to Suriname – after which they allegedly take the backtrack route by speedboat to Guyana. After that, the criminals head to Region 9 where they smuggle their victims across the Guyana/Brazil border under the radar and whisk them off to Boa Vista, Roraima.

The Brazilian Police explains that, once in Brazil, the traffickers take away the cellphones and passports of their victims and subject them to a life of bondage under poor living conditions. The two victims who escaped and sought help from the Brazilian police explained that this was their experience with the traffickers – and this is what sparked the ongoing investigation.

As part of the investigation, Brazilian journalists and investigators visited the Guyana/Brazil border and crossed over to Lethem. They examined the possibilities and routes of smuggling people across the two countries unknown to immigration authorities. The investigations are ongoing.

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