AGRICULTURE Minister Clarence Rambharat says there is no confirmation that missing people in TT are victims of human trafficking.
He was responding to an urgent question in the Senate yesterday from Opposition Senator Wade Mark. Speaking on behalf of the National Security Minister, Rambharat said the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force had reported that TT was moved up from level three to level two on the US Department of State prevention ranking, and there is a possibility many children and adults who have reportedly gone missing are cases of human trafficking. But he said the Commissioner of Police has indicated there is speculation but little evidence to support the claim that many missing children and adults are cases of human trafficking.
He said there has been no indicationby the Anti-Kidnapping Unit to suggest any missing people are cases of human trafficking, and the majority are either subsequently located or returned home.
“A small percentage of missing persons have been located and a small percentage of such missing persons are also the subject of homicide.”
Rambharat also reported that the US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report of 2017 upgraded TT’s efforts in combating the trafficking of persons to Tier 2 and this country was never ranked at Tier 2. He said the Counter Trafficking Unit (CTU) has not met or interacted with the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force, nor can the CTU vouch for its credibility, background or knowledge of human-trafficking trends in TT.
Mark also asked about the recent murder of a witness to a double murder. He was likely referring to the case of 50-year-old Rudolph Poon, who was shot dead at his Carapo home on Saturday night.
Rambharat cautioned Mark that the case was an ongoing police investigation, and said, “There is nothing so far to indicate that this particular murder was tied to anything relating to a witness to another criminal event.” He said there is a justice protection programme that is always available for witnesses and if a threat assessment is done and the witness is willing, they can be facilitated.