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Missing loved ones bring families grief
There will be no celebration, no joy, no laughter or flowers at the homes of Gale Lammy and Angela John this Mother’s Day. Instead, John and Lammy want closure into the strange disappearance of their daughters. For two years, both women have lived with the pain of not knowing if their daughters are alive or dead. Today, while millions of mothers world-wide will gather to bond with their children, it will be a tearful day for Lammy and John who fear that their daughters could have been kidnapped to be trafficked outside of T&T. John said the thought of her 29-year-old daughter Abigail Joseph being taken against her will and shipped outside of T&T, did enter her mind, since months of searches have come up empty-handed. There were reports that Joseph was transported to Venezuela, but John said this was not confirmed by investigating officers. “All I want is closure on this.” John said, trying hard to contain her emotions at her Aranguez home on Wednesday.
Lured into car
Joseph was last seen boarding a Cascade taxi in Port-of-Spain on September 2, 2008 after dropping off her eight-year-old son Nathaniel to school. “I think she was lured into the car she had taken. I still feel she is not dead. She is somewhere out there. I know God is protecting her.” Lammy also shares the same feeling. Last month, when the Trafficking of Persons Bill in Parliament was tabled in the House of Representatives, John jumped for joy. “I welcomed the bill. The only thing is it took too long. This will help in putting the culprits involved in human trafficking behind bars.” John said she wants to believe that some of T&T’s missing people could have been victims of human trafficking abroad. “People just don’t vanish into thin air.”
On Wednesday, Minister of National Security John Sandy admitted that there were incidents of human trafficking in T&T. Sandy said in 2009, T&T was placed in the Tier Two of the Trafficking in Persons Report for failing to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. If Joseph was around, John said she would have gone all out to make Mother’s Day special and grand. “She was the perfect organiser of social events. This is what I miss the most about her. Abigail ensured that everything was in place and everyone was happy whenever there was a family gathering.” John said Joseph was never the type to abandon her family, especially her eight-year-old son who she adored and loved.
Left in anguish
Last Mother’s Day, John said her four children tried to cheer her up in Joseph’s absence. It was the second Mother’s Day John had spent without her daughter, which tore her heart to pieces and left her in anguish. “I purchased a flowing skirt and blouse and gift wrapped them, hoping that Abigail would have walked through the front door to celebrate the day big together. But it never happened.” The gift had to be taken away by one of John’s daughters. This year, John plans to buy Joseph another gift. “I will also take time out to cry as I did on the last two Mother’s Day.” John said since Joseph vanished she feels empty and raw inside. “The memories are too painful. The agony is unbearable.” What is equally hurtful, John said was not hearing from the police.” “You end up giving up on hope.”
Life turned upside down
The last time John heard from the Anti-Kidnapping Squad was 2009. “It seems as their investigations have gone cold.” She thanked God for giving her the solace and strength to continue life. Hung on the living room of John’s home is a huge photograph of Joseph, which gives her comfort and the will to face her upward battles. In a matter of months, John admitted that her life and that of her family had turned upside down. John said Joseph’s only child, eight-year-old Nathaniel has become aggressive in school while her husband Anthony still can’t catch himself. “It’s not easy to cope but by the grace of God we will see this through.”
Lammy: I want closure
On Friday, Lammy admitted that the possibility of her daughter being trafficked did crossed her mind.
“It is a possibility although no one has admitted to it,” she said, bursting into tears. “You know how it is to live your life not knowing what has happened to your child and there is no closure. You can never rest. This will haunt you for the rest of your life.” Lammy, a pupil of the Edinburgh Government Primary School, disappeared after leaving school on February 10, 2009. A ‘PH’ taxi-driver, has been charged with kidnapping Leah and with stealing her cellphone. He was charged with other kidnappings and murders.
Lammy too asked for closure. For the 27 months Leah has not been seen or heard from has only added to Lammy’s aching heart. “I try not to dwell on her disappearance but everywhere you turn in the house there is something to remind me of her.” Today, Lammy will spend Mother’s Day as an ordinary day with her two other children.
Close down brothels
Nathifa Mitchell founder and chairman of the Missing Persons Association of T&T said she always believed that human trafficking exists in T&T. “Is just that the Government took long to realise it.” Between last year to now, Mitchell said approximately 20 people involved in human trafficking contacted her for help. Among the 20, the majority, Mitchell said were women from Venezuela and Columbia, who passed through T&T’s back door with the promise of a better life and high paying jobs. “But instead they are duped into prostitution, forced labour and exploited.” Most times, Mitchell said their passports are seized so they remain trapped in T&T with no one to turn to for help.” Mitchell said if she had her way she would have closed every brothel in T&T since many of them aided and abetted in human trafficking. The people behind the trafficking, Mitchell, said are from the upper and middle class brackets.
Missing women:- -Denise Barcant -Riana Parag -Rena Durga -Oma Nanan.
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