Young: Most missing girls are runaways

Minister of National Security Stuart Young. Photo by - Angelo Marcelle
Minister of National Security Stuart Young. Photo by - Angelo Marcelle

The majority of missing girls and women were discovered to have run away from home, said National Security Minister Stuart Young.

He was responding to a question in the Senate on Tuesday from Opposition Senator Wade Mark on initiatives to address the problem of missing young girls and women, in light of the increase in cases over the past three years.

Young replied the number of cases had fluctuated over the past three years.

He listed a number of initiatives implemented by the police: training in human trafficking; immediate investigations into people on the missing persons register, instead of waiting 24 hours as had been previously done; an Anti-Kidnapping Unit outreach programme; street theatre crime and safety initiative; the Child Protection Unit partnering with different agencies including youth camps, churches and PTAs; lectures, career days and sensitisation drives; and advertisements and promotional videos.

He also listed other existing initiatives by the police including highlighting new and cold cases on social media.

Mark asked if, with all these initiatives, there had been a reduction in the number of missing girls and women under his stewardship.

Young replied that Government was not burying its head in the sand and when reports are made police would immediately post information to social media, rather than waiting 24 hours.

“Nearly all of these matters have resulted in the detection of the young girls, them turning up, them contacting the police service and their families – and they have run away from them.

“So there is no increased phenomenon; what you have now is an increased openness about the issue, and we are dealing with it directly not only through the TT Police Service, but through other initiatives.”

Mark asked if there was a link between missing girls and women and women being trafficked to other countries, but Senate President Christine Kangaloo did not allow the question.

Later in the sitting Young was asked about measures to give effect to a High Court recommendation that there should be swift disciplinary action against “rogue police officers.”

In response he outlined various protocols that have been implemented, including protocols to increase the capturing of breaches of discipline by officers from social, print and electronic media and increasing of staffing at the Complaints Division to 11 in May 2019. He added that rogue officers was not a new phenomenon and the Commissioner of Police has been told to “root out these officers and the Government will stand with him.”

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