Put pimps on sex offenders list

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi

PIMPS should be placed on the Sexual Offenders Registry. Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi got this agreement yesterday from the TT Association of Psychiatrists (TTAP) at a public hearing held by the Special Select Committee on the Sexual Offences Amendment Bill 2019 at Tower D of the Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre.

A pimp is someone who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them, taking a percentage of their earnings in return.

According to Section 23 of the Sexual Offences Act, Al-Rawi said, " People who live off of prostitution are deemed to be guilty of an offence." These people include pimps and sex workers (prostitutes). He asked how the law should differentiate between these people.

TTAP immediate past president Katja Khan said pimps should be on the registry because they commit heinous crimes and this "should have consequences." But she added sex workers "should not be considered in the same category as people who are engaging in trafficking or pimping."

Al-Rawi said TTAP had expressed a view that "sex workers ought to be legal in this country," but Khan said TTAP has not taken a position.

Psychologist Karen Moore said there is "a huge number" of underage prostitutes in TT, adding that many people do not know that prostitutes are not only "women and men, 18 years and over." She said this raises the question about the age of people who should be placed on the registry.

Khan questioned whether putting sexual offenders' names on a registry would reduce recidivism and suggested penalties for people who use information on the registry to discriminate against sex offenders. She said people who misuse information on the New Jersey sexual offenders registry are subject to a US$15,000 fine and could be imprisoned for three to five years.

Sexual offenders should not be discriminated against when they apply for jobs or insurance, she said, and there should be consideration of what information about the offender should be made public.

Khan also said the guidelines for reporting sexual offences are unclear, and people who fail to report such offences should not be placed on the registry.

Therapist Dr Dianne Douglas suggested there be special courts to deal with sexual offenders. If children were witnesses to sexual offences, Douglas said there is a risk of them being traumatised by the sexual offender's relatives.

Douglas and Moore also said there are some communities in TT where "incest is the norm" and considered "a rite of passage."

Attorney Jonathan Bhaggan said there must be a distinction between first-time offenders and an "actual monster who cannot be redeemed." as there must be a balance between knowing who are the people who are a "real risk to society" and not infringing people's constitutional rights.


"Put pimps on sex offenders list"

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