There is no evidence to support allegations that police officers or immigration officers in TT being involved in sex -trafficking. Acting National Security Minister Stuart Young gave this response to a question from Opposition Senator Wade Mark in the Senate on Tuesday.
Referring to the contents of a US Trafficking in Person Report, Young said he has been advised by the Police Service and the Immigration Division that, “no reports were received nor any evidence presented that implicated any police officer or immigration officer in the facilitation of sex trafficking.”
He said TT has been collaborating closely with the US government in combatting the scourge of sex trafficking. Young said TT has improved in its ranking with respect to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA)under the People’s National Movement (PNM) as compared to under the former People’s Partnership government.
He said under the PNM, TT has moved from a “watch list country” in 2016 to a “Tier 2 country” this year. Young disclosed that among the measures to deter public officials and other people from engaging in sex-trafficking is a penalty of 25 years imprisonment upon conviction on indictment under the Trafficking in Persons Act.
He disclosed that the ministry’s Counter-Trafficking Unit (CTU) collaborates with other law enforcement personnel in disruptive operations at reportedly known places of ill repute to deter the demand for commercial and sexual services. Young rejected claims that TT has become a destination, transit and source country for the sex-trafficking of adults and children.
He evoked complaints from Opposition senators when he described this claim from the Opposition as, “simply unpatriotic and misleading.” Young listed information sharing, community sensitisation, building of local and regional partnerships as other efforts being undertaken to combat sex-trafficking.
Young also told Independent Senator Melissa Ramkissoon that the police would speak with her in relation to an alleged video on social media which was related to the allegations which Mark referred to.