Cedros councillor Shankar Teelucksingh estimates that up to 75 per cent of female immigrants who enter the Trinidad and Tobago illegally end up being sex workers.
He made the comment yesterday during a telephone interview on CNC3's Morning Brew, as he commented on a viral social media video depicting what appears to be Venezuelans nationals landing illegally on a beach at Los Iros.
Noting that such an occurrence is not an unusual occurrence to them on that part of the island, Teelucksingh said he was happy someone recorded it.
“What happened yesterday - it is now proof - and I'm happy someone took a video and circulated it throughout for the authorities to see what is taking place in the peninsula at this point in time,” he said.
He explained that he had made several calls for the relevant authorities to tackle the issue but was yet to get action.
“The Prime Minister did speak about it - of the illegal ports of entry - so they are fully aware of the situation. However, this is a day to day, not only Venezuelan illegal personnel but you would have seen other issues affecting the Icacos/Fullerton area, which is the illegal importation of animals," Teelucksingh said.
"It is something I have been calling on all the authorities in the Cedros Security Complex, the Minister of National Security, who was the MP at the time since 2015 before the cabinet reshuffle, and it just went unnoticed.”
He said the latest figures indicate that at least 1,200 to 1,500 passengers circulate legally through the Cedros port weekly, with comparative figures for those who circulate through illegal ports and are mostly women and children.
Despite Minister of National Security Stuart Young's claims last month in Parliament that there is no refugee crisis, the councillor believes otherwise.
“I am saying at this point in time that we are in crisis…recently it was reported in the media where Venezuelan nationals were abused and so on - and if we don't call this a crisis, then something is definitely wrong. I cannot understand what they are waiting on to call it a crisis.”
The responsibility of this, he said, falls on the Minister of National Security to investigate.
Several attempts to reach both Minister of National Security Stuart Young and Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith for a comment on the issue were unsuccessful yesterday.
However, the matter was addressed at yesterday's police press briefing, where it was confirmed that 11 illegal immigrants had been arrested during raids in the area spurred by the video. However, the police said they could not confirm whether the persons arrested were the same individuals who had arrived illegally on the vessel in the video.