(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – The Police Service is appealing to members of the public to be aware of predators who lure foreign nationals to T&T under the guise of assisting with employment, work permits and the offer of other forms of support.
The police gave the advice in a statement in which it reported that a Mayaro man appeared in court charged with human trafficking of a female minor.
The release said Jemmel Baptiste, aka “Beak”, “Andy Williams”, “Darko”, and “Darkman” was arrested by police during an anti-crime exercise conducted in the district on July 22.
Baptiste, 31, a farmer of Grand Lagoon Village, Mayaro, was charged with ‘receiving a child into Trinidad and Tobago for the purpose of exploitation and appeared before Magistrate Gillian Scotland in the Sangre Grande Magistrates’ Court the following day.
He was not called upon to plead and advised to apply to a judge in chambers for bail. The matter was then transferred to the Mayaro Magistrates’ Court for hearing on July 30.
At this hearing, before Magistrate Brambhanan Dubay, Baptiste was granted bail with surety in the sum of $80,000 and the matter adjourned to August 27.
The statement from the Police Service said as a condition of bail Baptiste was ordered to report to the Mayaro Police Station every Monday between 6 am and 6 pm and make no contact with the victim.
The police said on November 18, 2017, officers of the Sangre Grande Police Station responded to a wireless transmission of a report of kidnapping in the district and subsequently intercepted a vehicle with four occupants, plus the victim, at Adventist Street, Sangre Grande.
After the child was found to be a Venezuelan national, and her parents still in Venezuela, the matter was referred to the Counter Trafficking Unit of the Ministry of National Security.
The statement said Baptiste and the other suspects were subsequently released pending further investigations.
Following the conclusion of investigations supervised by Sgt Leith Jones, of the CTU, a warrant was issued for Baptiste’s arrest and he was subsequently held at his Mayaro home on July 22. He following day he was charged by Cpl Dirk John also of the CTU.
The police are appealing to anyone with information on human trafficking to call the Counter Trafficking Unit hotline at 800-4288 (4CTU). All calls are toll free and anonymous.