Porno movie ring uncovered
- unsuspecting students caught in sex movies By Shirley Thomas
Guyana Chronicle
February 6, 2002

...officials say while many unsuspecting teens may have been `spiked' and taken on a 'high' before the sex romps were filmed, word is that many others have allowed themselves to be filmed for the lure of 'quick cash'

THE truancy (skulking) campaign, which has caught students in sexual escapades when they were supposed to have been in school, has uncovered a pornography ring that lures unsuspecting teens into making sex movies.

Officials of the Education Ministry who are continuing the drive against truancy started last October, have found out that there's a ring of `mercenaries' using unsuspecting teenage boys and girls locally to make pornographic films.

Such films, a source said, are being circulated and viewed on video in Guyana and abroad.

However, officials say that while many unsuspecting teens may have been `spiked' and taken on a 'high' before the sex romps were filmed, word is that many others have allowed themselves to be filmed for the lure of 'quick cash', fancy items such as designer clothes, and the purchase and upkeep of cell phone service.

"It has virtually become a business for some of them," one source said, "and in this regard, a cellular telephone assumes greater importance, particularly since they would not want their parents to get wind of what is taking place."

Armed with the shocking information, Education Ministry officials are now warning parents and other concerned citizens to join in the fight against those luring schoolchildren into the ring.

They said men are targeting boys for homosexuality and `known lesbians' are recruiting young girls for the trade.

The Chronicle understands that a local `celebrity', who was in a group viewing one of the porno films made here, almost suffered a 'heart attack' when his high school daughter, in whom he had great confidence, appeared on screen in a sex act.

Informed sources said that filming is being done in the city as well as in the suburbs and the new trade is quickly gaining ground.

One official said the uncovering of the ring sends a powerful message that in Guyana the education system is ill equipped to effectively deal with the problem.

Another reported case involved a teenaged girl from a senior secondary school who was caught openly having anal sex with three male partners in rapid succession.

Professional social workers who viewed such behaviour as being abnormal, were willing to probe deeper and offer counselling to help the child, officials said.

However, when contacted and asked for his cooperation, the girl's father became apprehensive, and arrogantly tendered what he said was a 'medical certificate' to prove that his daughter was yet a 'virgin'. With him suggesting that the concerned parties should 'back off', his daughter was never given professional help, the officers in the truancy campaign said.

Some were of the view that many factors could be responsible for such behaviour - home morals; poverty; peer pressure and taking of narcotic substances.

At a recent assessment session, others felt such persons are the victims of 'demonic possession' and can be helped.

While commending the work of the Truancy Task Force and other supporters for doing a good job at policing and moving to eliminate truancy, ministry officials feel a lot more needs to be done to effectively deal with the problem.

In an invited comment, Deputy Chief Education Officer (on leave), Mr. Romeo McAdam, acknowledged that the problems with children 'at school', as well as those who are 'skipping school', are a cause for grave concern, and must be seriously and urgently addressed.

Noting the efforts of Welfare Officers selected from the ranks of teachers within the school system to render service, he said there is a limit to how much they will be able to do because they also have to handle their teaching programmes.

Also raised was the question of sustained commitment to the task in hand, as they continue to serve on secondment.

McAdam said there should also be provision for facilities such as transportation to move the officers around in the execution of their duties, and other amenities.

He recommended strongly that persons assigned to function in such a highly professional field should be qualified, trained, and work within strict guidelines.

Moreover, they should be appointed as Welfare Officers within a structure that provides for upward mobility, and not be teachers on secondment, he argued.

He also feels it would be useful for the ministry to have workshops for parents whose children have problems.

Those selected for training as Welfare Officers have to be responsible individuals, persons of integrity and with an attitude of professionalism, he said. He warned against persons who will seek the first opportunity to "get out there" and gossip and discuss confidential matters.

McAdam noted that children who have problems need to know where to go and who to talk to, with the assurance that such matters would be treated in confidence, and that there should be follow-up action.

He called for persons to be more supportive, both at the level of the school, and within the wider society.

He condemned the attitude of those who tend to ostracise and stigmatise young people for having done something wrong in the past, noting that it is important for the children to be given a chance to turn over a new page, and to know that there is still hope.

Very often persons do not treat with dignity those who have made mistakes and are attempting to lead worthwhile and responsible lifestyles once more, he said.

Coordinator of the Truancy Campaign, Ms. Yvonne Arthur reiterated that there is great need for more persons to be trained to help advance the programme.

She said that the campaign which kicked off in Georgetown and Region Six (East Berbice Corentyne), is soon to be taken to Regions Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) and Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) where sensitisation work will be done

However, preliminary work being done by officers in those areas tend to suggest that there is a high incidence of incest and child molestation in Region Seven, but not so pronounced in Regions Five (Mahaica/Berbice) and Six, she reported.

The problem encountered in Region Five involved children being kept home from, school to engage in selling and other commercial activities to assist the home, she said.