Bail set at $1M for woman accused of human trafficking

A woman accused of receiving two women in the North West for the purpose of prostitution was yesterday set $1M bail when she appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

The allegation against Loretta Hyman is that between January 13 and January 20, 2014, at Bigmonassee Backdam, North West District, she received two women for the purpose of exploiting them.

Hyman was not required to plead to the indictable charge when it was read to her by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

Prosecutor Michael Grant said that the women were told by the accused that they would be going into the interior to work at a shop. He said that once they had gotten there, however, they were subsequently told that they were there to “pick fare.” The matter was later reported to the police and the defendant was arrested and charged.

Attorney Lyndon Amsterdam, who represented Hyman, argued that there are various elements which must exist and be advanced at this initial stage of the hearing for a charge of human trafficking to be proved. He argued that the act of “alleged prostitution” alone does not constitute people trafficking.

Amsterdam further charged that the prosecution’s admission that the police are still investigating the matter is an indication of its inability to substantiate the charge laid against his client. For this reason, he contended that Hyman should be granted her pre-trial liberty.

The court and the prosecutor in response however advanced that there are various facets to a charge such as the one laid against the accused and that receiving and forcing someone into prostitution are all aspects of such a charge.

Bail was set in the sum of $1M and a request for a reduction by Amsterdam was denied. Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry asserted that bail should be commensurate with the seriousness of the offence.

The case was transferred to the Matthew’s Ridge Magistrate’s Court, where it is fixed for February 3.

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