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N Touch
Tuesday 24 April 2018
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Venezuelan child bride goes silent

THE 13-year-old Venezuelan child bride who was rescued from a house in Penal on May 31 is refusing to co-operate with police and immigration officials.

They are seeking information about the Trinidadian man who married her in a tribal ceremony in Venezuela and brought her to Trinidad.

Yesterday, sources at the Child Protection Unit said the teenager freely gave them information about her wedding, which took place under Warao rites before she was brought here by boat.

However, when they asked about her 24-year-old husband and whether her marriage was ever consummated, she fell silent.

The girl is being kept in a safe house run by the Living Water Community.

Child Protection officers said although they are working closely with immigration officers, they believe that they are going nowhere in terms of finding the man who. Officers said they have tried everything to persuade the girl to assist them but she insists she is a married woman and that to send her back to her parents would be an exercise in futility, because she would not be accepted back into her tribe.

Yesterday immigration sources said they were liaising with immigration officers in Venezuela and other authorities to decide how to deal with this unprecedented situation.

Last month, Southwestern Division officers led by Sgt Ablacksingh raided a house at Penal Rock Road and found the girl in one of the bedrooms.

An interpreter who interviewed the teen found out she had been married with full consent from her parents.

Counter-trafficking officers said they have no information that her arrival in the country was a result of trafficking, so they are not closely involved in the investigation.

Yesterday chairman of the Children’s Authority Hanif Benjamin said he could not disclose any information on the status of the investigation but said as long as it continues, the Children’s Authority’s mandate is to provide care and protection for the girl.

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