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Human trafficking expert: Boom in child porn in T&T

Published: 
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A child could be trafficked and still go home and sleep in his/her bed every night, says Adrian Alexander, president of the Caribbean Umbrella Body for Restorative Behaviour (CURB). Alexander says there is a boom in child sex tourism in T&T. He revealed a side of human trafficking different from the Hollywood movie Taken, which is closer to home. Explaining how it works, he said, “The smart phone your child has, or even the laptop the Government gave him, is the portal through which this is being done.

 

 

“A foreigner can stay in his home or office and (through the Internet) have a child disrobe and perform sexual acts on himself or herself, perhaps even paying for it.” Alexander said that was linked to organised crime and told how he and CURB volunteers were threatened, followed and had their telephones monitored for their awareness campaign. He said, “There is a boom in child porn in T&T. Videos are being done by children and circulated.

 

“It’s not always a case of a badly behaved child. These young people could be victims of human trafficking. “It’s happening in secondary and primary schools. The Education Ministry is aware there has been an increase in sexual activity among children at a younger age. It’s happening, it’s a reality. It’s not a figment of our imaginations.” He said under the act, transporting a person under 18 or recruiting him/her for the purpose of making child pornography, is a crime. 

 

Alexander spoke to the Guardian as CURB, this week, launched a smart phone mobile app to assist in the prevention of human trafficking in T&T and the Caribbean. CURB was part of a Cabinet-appointed multi-sectoral task force that helped shape the Trafficking in Persons Act proclaimed in January 2013. The International Organisation on Migration partnered with the Government to initiate the political action, which fell under the Ministry of National Security.

 

The group, an umbrella body of various civil society organisations, including Vision on Mission, New Hope Prison Ministry, Transformed Life Ministry and Woman Thou Art Loosed Foundation, has embarked on a training programme for teachers and parents about this little-known aspect of human trafficking. An online article by PRWEB in New York on Monday reported that the free globally available anti-human trafficking mobile application empowers victims and communities to safely report cases.

 

There is a section directed to young people, as well as job seekers and migrants from outside T&T who can be informed about the risks of human trafficking. “The Counter-Trafficking Unit has rescued a number of child and adult victims from sex and labour exploitation and domestic servitude. “The 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report from the US State Department identified T&T as a source country for trafficked persons.”

 

“T&T was placed on a human trafficking watch list last year by the US State Department and listed as a destination and transit country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and adults subjected to forced labour.” The report said unconfirmed findings of the National Security Ministry states victims of trafficking between June 2009 and August 2012 were 39 per cent Venezuelan, 31 per cent Colombian, eight per cent Guyanese and 22 per cent from the Dominican Republic.

 

 

About the APP

The app is titled “Trafficking in Trinbago” and educates users on the extent of human trafficking in the region and tells how to identify, prevent and report it. The online report said the CURB team uses links, downloads and videos within the app to help users recognise signs of the crime, reasons why it might occur and how, including targeted information on work permits and due diligence specific to local youth, migrants and job-seekers.

 

“Perhaps it most important feature is the Report It button, which gives the option of immediately connecting the user’s iPhone or Android Smartphone with relevant law enforcement agencies, including the local police, Child Line and 800-TIPS, and directly emailing the Counter Trafficking Unit to report suspected cases.”