Monday, February 24, 2020

Visiting Red Cross Official Says Human Trafficking A ‘Terrible Issue’

The visiting head of the regional delegation of the Red Cross has said here that human trafficking is a ‘terrible issue’.

The issue of human trafficking at the regional level – we tackle the issue of migration and honestly, we don’t even talk about migration; we talk about people on the move because it is very difficult to start and we don’t like to enter into classification and labelling people,” Giuseppe Renda told reporters here Friday.

“We know when we are talking about people on the move – people for  desperate reasons they have to take this decision to leave their own country, leave their own house and sometimes they are more vulnerable and also they can be objects of trafficking,” Renda explained.

He disclosed that the Red Cross does not have a precise programme on human trafficking.

However the visiting official said whenever the organisation can reestablish family links and provide advice to people in order to find a solution, it does so through the institutions that are present in each country.

“You have different levels of approach in this issue, so institutions must be alerted on this.The role and  the responsibility stays with the state – with the  institutions that have all the necessary measures to avoid and to limit this terrible issue,” Renda told reporters here.

He was addressing a news conference here to mark the 70th anniversary of the Saint Lucia Red Cross.

He spoke days after Trinidad and Tobago’s Police Commissioner Gary Griffith declared that his men had cracked “the biggest situations pertaining to human trafficking” in the twin Island republic.

According to local reports, 69 people were being held  as ‘slaves’ at a facility in Arouca, described as a “church”.

Griffith was quoted as saying that the scene was barbaric and there were reports that some of the 65 men and four women were being tortured.

But the founder of the church that was raided by the police, Glen Awong, in a telephone interview with the Trinidad Express newspaper, denied the reports of human trafficking.

He was quoted by the newspaper as saying that  he believed the police raid on the Transformed Life Ministry and Rehabilitation Centre in Arouca, could be linked to an ongoing court battle with the State for the non-payment of TT$1.4 million.

“I worked for the Government under the street dwellers programme with the Ministry of Social Development and they are owing me money,” Awong stated.



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