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Venezuelan sold her newborn to Trinidad couple for US$20,000

By Trinidad NewsDay

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(TRINIDAD NEWS DAY) — A two-month-old baby boy who was sold to a Trincity couple for US$20,000 one month ago was rescued from a house in Trincity on Wednesday morning and is now in the care of the Children’s Authority.

The baby’s mother, who is a Venezuelan domestic worker, reportedly sold the baby to a local pilot and his Italian wife who is a businesswoman.

She left for Venezuela after collecting the cash, but later contacted the Venezuelan Embassy in this country to say she had been tricked into giving up her baby and wanted to be reunited with him.

The mother returned to the country and gave information to the Counter Trafficking and Child Protection units and the Trincity couple was put under surveillance.

Investigators also discovered that the couple had hired a Central-based lawyer to secure the deal.

After weeks of investigations and surveillance, Counter Trafficking Unit officers went to an area in Trincity at 9 am on Wednesday and searched several houses. They found the baby at the home of the pilot and his wife. The baby was in perfect health and did not appear to be at risk.

The joint team from the Counter Trafficking and Child Protection units took the baby to the Children’s Authority and he was placed in a safe house. The couple who was in possession of the baby reportedly told police they had done no wrong and the baby’s mother gave him to them because she could not take care of him financially. The couple said they agreed to do so.

But the mother disputed this, saying she was offered cash for her baby and decided to accept it because of her financial situation. She said she came into this country legally and got pregnant. She overstayed her six-month limit because of her pregnancy and gave birth here. She said she was sorry for her action and wants to be reunited with her son.

She also said that after leaving her baby with the Trincity couple she returned to Venezuela, but could not live without her baby, and decided to do the right thing by contacting the Venezuelan Embassy for help in being reunited with him.

Child Protection officers said yesterday that statements were taken from the Trincity couple who was heartbroken after the baby was taken from them. They told police they had grown attached to him, as they had known him from birth and pleaded with police to let them to keep their son.

The couple was not detained but statements were taken. Police also searched the office of a Central-based attorney and seized documents. Head of the Counter Trafficking Unit Alana Wheeler was unavailable for comment yesterday, since she is on vacation.

CTU officers said yesterday only she is authorised to give information, but added that investigations are at a sensitive stage. Chairman of the Children’s Authority Hanif Benjamin confirmed the incident was quick to point out: “This is an ongoing investigation and I do not wish to comment.”

Venezuelan Embassy officials also said yesterday they did not wish to comment on an active police investigation.

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