Two men have been charged with multiple counts of obtaining money for trafficking a child and are due to appear before the Arima Magistrates Court today, to answer to the charges.
Iglesias Hernandez aka ‘Nineteen’, a 26-year-old labourer of Pipiol Road, Santa Cruz, along with Jemmel Baptiste aka ‘Beak’, ‘Andy Williams’, ‘Darko’, and ‘Darkman’, a 31-year-old farmer of Grand Lagoon Village, Mayaro, were jointly charged with 14 counts of ‘receiving or obtaining a financial benefit, knowing that it resulted from the offence of trafficking in a child.
They were arrested by officers of the Counter Trafficking Unit (CTU).
The charges arose from an incident on Saturday 18th November, 2017, when officers of the Sangre Grande Police Station responded to a wireless transmission of a report of kidnapping in the district.
Officers intercepted a vehicle with four occupants, including the victim, at Adventist Street, Sangre Grande.
The victim, a Venezuelan girl, whose parents reside in Venezuela, was placed in the care of the Children’s Authority, while the matter was referred to the CTU. Hernandez was arrested and charged on Tuesday 25th September, 2018, for the offences which are alleged to have taken place in the Trincity area between Sunday 5th November, 2017, and Saturday 18th November, 2018.
Meanwhile, Baptiste, who was previously charged with ‘receiving a child into Trinidad and Tobago for the purpose of exploitation’ on Monday 23rd July, 2018, was charged with the new offences on Friday 22nd September, 2018, while appearing at the Mayaro Magistrates’ Court for a separate matter.
Investigations were supervised by Sgt. Leith Jones and involved W/Cpl Dawn Hector, W/Cpl Jenny Constantine and PC Samali George, all of the CTU.
All charges were laid by Cpl. Dirk John, also of the CTU, following advice received from the Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC, and according to Section 26 of the Trafficking in Persons Act, Chapter 12:10.