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First case of suspected human trafficking before court

First case of suspected human trafficking before court

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This country, on Tuesday, made its first ever arrest on suspicion of human trafficking.

Brighton businessman Adrian Deane, 61, appeared at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court and was not allowed to plea to three indictable counts of engaging in trafficking of persons, between May 11 and September 30, 2015, at Brighton.{{more}}

Deane was granted bail in the sum of $80,000 with one surety and will appear at the Serious Offences Court next Monday, when a date for the Preliminary Inquiry will be set.

He was charged under section 5 (1) of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act No. 27 of 2011.

According to a well-placed source, it is alleged that three Jamaicans, a man, a woman and her son were induced by Deane to come here from the Cayman Islands. It is said that the trio worked with Deane at his bakery and would sometimes work at his house.

Deane’s arrest comes less than two weeks after Minister of Foreign Affairs, Camillo Gonsalves slammed a US Human Trafficking report, which placed this country and neighbouring islands within the Tier 2 ‘watch list’.

Gonsalves had stated that the recent report does not provide any information on how research is conducted and verified and that it is filled with controversy.

Over the years, SVG has fluctuated between Tier 2 and the Tier 2 Watch List – along with many other English-speaking Caribbean states.

In a brief interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Head of both the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and Anti Trafficking in Persons Unit (ATIPU) of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, Superintendent Ruth Jacobs said Deane’s arrest is also the first under the Act and the first since the establishment of the ATIPU, which was set up in March 2012.

“This is historic. It’s the first arrest and it shows that persons are understanding the real issues of human trafficking.

“Based on the information the public is receiving, once a report is made, we will investigate. The unit is not condoning any acts of human trafficking and once there’s a report, we investigate and let the chips fall where they may,” Jacobs said.

She added that 60 additional persons, including police officers are being trained on matters involving human trafficking.

According to the Trafficking in Persons Act, trafficking in persons is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other means of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of giving or receiving of payment or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation.”

Deputy director of the ATIPU, station sergeant Junior Simmons is the lead investigator in the matter.(KW)

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