A 44-year-old farmer in Guyana has been jailed for four years after he was found guilty of trafficking two Jamaican women.
A Guyana Police Force (GPF) statement said that Tito Browne was also sentenced to one year imprisonment on the count of withholding the passports of the two Jamaican nationals.
Browne, who was arrested by police April 28, 2021– one day after a wanted bulletin was issued for him– was also fined GUY$200,000 (J$145,000) and ordered to pay $6.3 million in restitution to the victims.
Browne, also known as ‘Tommy’ and ‘Yankee’ appeared before Magistrate Wanda Fortune at the Linden Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. He was charged with two counts of trafficking in persons and on each count, he was sentenced to four years imprisonment. The sentences will run concurrently.
The magistrate handed down the sentences after an eight-month-long trial that began in December 2021 and concluded last August.
The court was told that in November 2020, one of the victims met an individual in Jamaica, who indicated that Browne needed someone to work on his farm at Kara Kara Creek, Linden, in Guyana, and was willing to pay US$5,000 for the work to be done.
The first victim reportedly informed the second victim about the opportunity, and together they arranged with Browne, who promised to facilitate all their travel expenses.
The women left Jamaica on December 12, 2020, and upon their arrival in Guyana, Browne instructed them to inform immigration that they would only be spending two weeks.
“Upon arriving at the campsite at Kara Kara Creek, Browne informed them that they would be spending six months at the campsite and confiscated their passports. The victims recounted that from the date of entry to 24th April 2021, they worked at the Kara Kara camp but never received any compensation from Browne,” the police statement said.
The victims added that Browne would visit periodically and demand that they work more diligently. Though he continuously promised to pay them, he never did. They were only allowed to contact their families from Browne’s phone whenever he visited the campsite.
They told the police that for three weeks, no one visited them, and their supplies ran low, forcing them to leave the site.
“The victims were forced to venture from the camp in search of other campsites, walking through bushes and swamp lands until they managed to locate a logger who eventually took them to a village where they related their story and made a police report,” the police said.
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