Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reflections of Silence

Recently, someone in Skeldon initiated a private conversation with me about a public posting being discussed in the Facebook Group, Skeldon Conversation. The posting is, “This Sex Worker Thing”……how is public prostitution an accepted thing in Guyana?” The response was twofold, an on the ground assessment of the current crisis and a case of silence.

 “Hey Eric, I just saw the post on sex workers and found it to be interesting in some parts but, seems misinformed in others. As it relates to the trafficking in persons for the purpose of sex trades that was an issue of several years ago. It has reduced drastically. Continuous work is being done with all stakeholders including the Ministry of Human Services..... most bars you guys are referring to are a thing of the past sex workers are more wise these days hence not associating much with bars and brothels.... yes there are young girls in the sex work profession but they are independent workers both school age and older.... One challenge for NGOs working with these sex workers is they are able to work with the older population but are restricted to provide said services to minors. Although there are adequate evidence to prove these children are in sex work the laws of the land ties their hands. The law enforcers are blind to the part of the constitution that states sex work and buggering are illegal.”

The above excerpt was very surprising to me. Why does this person feel that they cannot post this response in a public forum? So I posed this question. Here was the response.  

“There are senior government officials who are a part of this group. Hence could compromise a lot of what I could say. I don't have a problem to speak. The thing with the situation here is that with everything there is politics at work. So, speaking is one thing, the way it affect the organization I represent will be another. I worry about the staff that has to provide for themselves and families more than myself..... It complicates things a lot there.”

Wow....things are still the same in Guyana even two decades later. No wonder I can't get anyone to participate from Skeldon. Is this the reality?

Note: I will not divulge the person at the other end of this conversation. Don’t ask and don’t assume you know who it is. Let’s look at the issue at hand.