High demand for child prostitution in Trinidad and Tobago, says top cop

By Rhondor Dowlat

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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Com­mis­sion­er of Po­lice Gary Grif­fith says T&T has a great de­mand for child pros­ti­tu­tion and child pornog­ra­phy.

He made the com­ment dur­ing an in­ter­view on CNC3’s Morn­ing Brew yes­ter­day, as he ad­dressed the po­lice crack­ing of what they be­lieve is a ma­jor sex and drug traf­fick­ing ring on Tues­day.

Po­lice ar­rest­ed at least 18 sus­pects in West and East Trinidad and res­cued 19 South Amer­i­can fe­males from the Stir Fry King Restau­rant along Ari­api­ta Av­enue in Port-of-Spain, a house along Morne Co­co Road near St An­tho­ny’s Col­lege and an­oth­er up­scale home at 61 West­ern Cir­cle, West­moor­ings.

Grif­fith said the in­ves­ti­ga­tions so far have re­vealed sev­er­al el­e­ments of the ex­ten­sive op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing how the mi­nors ar­rived on T&T’s and who are in­volved in the ac­tiv­i­ty.

“We can­not bury our heads in the sand on the hu­man traf­fick­ing is­sue. Young women are brought in here un­der false pre­tences and brought here where they were drugged and forced in­to pros­ti­tu­tion, some of them said they were locked in rooms and not al­lowed to leave,” Grif­fith said.

“There is a great de­mand for child pros­ti­tu­tion and child pornog­ra­phy in T&T by lo­cals…what we need to do is ex­pose these in­di­vid­u­als and bring them to jus­tice.”

In a re­lease is­sued by the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice yes­ter­day, the po­lice al­so strong­ly cau­tioned mem­bers of the pub­lic against shar­ing and cir­cu­lat­ing im­ages and videos of mi­nors, vic­tims of sex­u­al of­fences or hu­man traf­fick­ing. This af­ter pho­tos of the res­cued girls sur­faced on so­cial me­dia yes­ter­day.

The TTPS re­mind­ed the pub­lic that ac­cord­ing to Sec­tion 34 (1) of the Traf­fick­ing in Per­sons Act Chap­ter 12:10, it is a crim­i­nal of­fence “to in any way cause the iden­ti­ty of a vic­tim of hu­man traf­fick­ing to be re­vealed, con­sti­tutes an of­fence.”

It added that Sec­tion 34 (3) of the act al­so states that “a per­son who com­mits a breach of con­fi­den­tial­i­ty un­der this sec­tion is li­able on sum­ma­ry con­vic­tion to a fine of $100,000.”

Ad­di­tion­al­ly, it said the Sex­u­al Of­fences Act Chap­ter 11:28, Sec­tion 32 (1) states that “no mat­ter like­ly to lead mem­bers of the pub­lic to iden­ti­fy a per­son as the com­plainant in re­la­tion to that ac­cu­sa­tion shall ei­ther be pub­lished in Trinidad and To­ba­go in a writ­ten pub­li­ca­tion avail­able to the pub­lic or be broad­cast in Trinidad and To­ba­go.”

Sec­tion 32 (2) of the act al­so states: “A per­son who pub­lish­es or broad­casts any mat­ter con­trary to sub­sec­tion (1) is guilty of an of­fence and li­able on sum­ma­ry con­vic­tion to a fine of t$20,000 and to im­pris­on­ment for five years.”

Grif­fith has urged any­one who ob­serves any strange ac­tiv­i­ties sus­pect­ed to be hu­man traf­fick­ing to con­tact him di­rect­ly via his What’s App num­ber at 482-GARY.

“See some­thing, say some­thing,” Grif­fith said.

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