TT | Mar 3, 2023

Special team appointed in Trinidad to investing human trafficking allegations

/ Our Today

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Trinidad’s Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher.

Trinidad’s Commissioner of Police Erla Christopher has ordered an investigation into the allegations that senior government officials were involved in human trafficking.

She announced on Wednesday (March 1) that following a meeting with the Director of the Counter-Trafficking Unit, she appointed a special team of officers to carry out the probe.

“These allegations of human trafficking are serious, and will not be taken lightly,” the commissioner said.

Christopher gave the assurance that the matter would be vigorously pursued and thoroughly investigated.

Trindad’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. (Photo: Facebook @TTParliament)

The investigation follows allegations leveled by the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM), denials and counter-accusations from the opposition United National Congress (UNC), and public discussion stemming from a United States’ July 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report.

 The report stated that the twin-island republic remains on the tier 2 watchlist partly because it did not take action against “senior government officials alleged in 2020 to be involved in human trafficking.”

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said he had investigated and found that the officials mentioned in the report were not in the PNM. Still, the UNC, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said it was the PNM officials who were involved.

However, Dr Devant Maharaj, former legislator in the People’s Partnership coalition government of which the UNC was part and which Persad-Bissessar led, said he had assisted in the international investigations conducted between 2010-2015 within the UNC following allegations of human trafficking and the allegations were confirmed to be true.

Earlier this week, US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Candace Bond, in an interview with the Trinidad Express newspaper, explained that senior Government officials as referred to in the Trafficking in Person report are employees on the Government’s payroll who are accountable to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

Therefore, she said, perpetrators could sit on either the Opposition or Government bench in Parliament.

READ: Trinidad’s Opposition denies knowledge of probe into human trafficking allegations against party colleague


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