SOLD INTO SEX SLAVERY
The networks involve an entangled web of Trinidadian and Venezuelan traffickers who smuggle these women, corrupt police officers who facilitate the trade and protect wrongdoers, and immigration officials who often times take bribes to turn a blind eye to the women’s exploitation. Underworld Venezuelan figures with illicit arms and Asian criminal gangs are often part of the criminal networks.The illicit sex trade seems to span the entire country, from the remote port of Cedros to high-rises in Westmoorings, where sex slaves—some as young as 15 years old—are held against their will, locked in rooms and forced to have sex with men. Some victims are drugged so older men can have their way with them. The traffickers routinely take these women to bars and nightclubs in search of clients. The younger the women, the higher the price. For a 30-minute session, traffickers charge $300, about the price of a doctor’s visit. The rates double to $600 for an hour. For the entire night, the trafficker pockets $6,000.
SIX YEARS LATER, NO CONVICTIONS Since the inception of the Counter Trafficking Unit under the Ministry of National Security six years ago, only 56 people—a little more than nine a year—have faced the courts for this offence, according to a top law enforcement official. To date, no one has been convicted, authorities say.
COPS INVOLVED IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING' PCA director David West confirmed receiving many reports about police officers being involved in human trafficking and holding girls and young women captive.Young girls are at the mercy of rogue police officers, West said.
‘YOU’LL BECOME PROSTITUTES’ Cases involving Maria and other women implicate police officers who not only held them captive but facilitated sexual exploitation of the women.Maria was adamant that an officer was the mastermind behind the human trafficking ring that held her captive for almost six months. Another woman who was held at the house in Debe, south Trinidad, said a police officer routinely raped her and forced her to have sex with customers. “He collected and kept all of the money.”