Majority of illegal female immigrants to Trinidad work in sex trade

Ce­dros coun­cil­lor Shankar Teelucks­ingh

(Trinidad Guardian) 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.

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