PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Feb 7, CMC – Haitian law authorities say they have rescued 33 women including school children, during a raid that netted at least 12 human traffickers.
“We found 33 girls, 20 of them minors, locked up in one room,” said Danton Léger, the Port-au-Prince government commissioner, adding that in another room, 12 traffickers, including eight men were detained.
“In the room occupied by the traffickers, the police seized bags of drugs, alcohol, a certain amount of money in Gourdes and US dollars, a computer whose hard disk contains videos of child pornography …which tends to prove that these individuals were accustomed to this kind of exploitation,” he added.
Léger refused to provide further details on the number of traffickers involved or other arrests, because the investigation is still ongoing.
The authorities, including officials from the Port-au-Prince Public Prosecutor’s Office, Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ), the National Police of Haiti (PNH) assisted by United Nations police officers (UNPol) and the Brigade of Protection of Minors, said they acted on a tip off last week that young girls were going to be sold by a network of human traffickers
The arrest on Sunday took place at the Kaliko Beach Club on the Arcadin Coast, about 60 km from Port-au-Prince.
The authorities said that some of those rescued were as young as 13 years old, adding that the women had been brought to the area under the guise that they were going to a beautiful sea feast.
“There is no doubt that these individuals are suspected of trafficking of minors and sexual exploitation,” said Inspector Garry Desrosiers, Deputy spokesperson of the PNH.
He said that the 20 young minors were handed over to the Minors’ Protection Brigade while waiting to contact their parents.
Under the laws, the traffickers could face jail terms seven to 15 years and a maximum fine of US$22,000.