14 and Life: A Commentary on Human Trafficking

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Do you remember what life at 14 was like?

Maybe you were a wild one, or a sweet innocent. For the most part you were probably trying your hardest to make it through the complex struggles of adolescence.

I spend most of the week thinking how to turn the bothersome social issues of Trinidad and Tobago and life in general into a comical narrative.

This week’s article was shaping up to be a doozy. Then Monday morning came.


The Secret Sunday bust and all the details where disturbing enough, but when the smoke cleared it was reported one of the “women” was in fact 14. ONE! FOUR! -FOURTEEN!

I cannot fathom how she must have felt, surrounded by the smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke, blaring music and the sweaty hands of men old enough to be her father touching her barely matured body.

The thought is sickening.


What is even more distressing is that this young lady is reported to be a Venezuelan national and was suspected to have been trafficked for the purpose of sex work.

But what hurt the most were the comments posted online. The xenophobic, blatantly misogynistic comments. The, “Das what all dem Vene like” and the “Set a nasty woman spreading disease.”


These comments are not unique to this case. How many times has a young girl from our own country runaway and instead of sympathy she is bombarded with judgement. “She gone to look for man!” or “She too hot up and fass.” You know the comments without any empathy or thought as to what is going on with this young woman.

No one questions how these women ended up in these situations, no one questions why these girls have runaway. No one questions why we have society full of broken women.

Women who are trafficked are mostly from poor communities or those affected by civil disruption. In many cases they are offered jobs and being in a desperate situation they accept, only to discover there is no job and they are now at the mercy of their “employers” many of whom force them into hard unpaid labor or sex work.

Even sadder are desperate parents who send their children with these men based on promises of their child getting a better life.

The crisis in Venezuela has turned into a gold mine for human traffickers. A collapsed economy means an excess supply of desperate women looking to provide for their children and families.

More and more we hear reports of human trafficking on our shores. Stories of women, many underage, being drugged and forced into prostitution continue to circulate. It appears to be a horror story that has no end. The government and relevant authorities seem to be trying their best to ease the situation, as is apparent by the Secret Sunday sting.

But more has to be done, and it has to be done by us citizens.

If you see something suspicious where you live, report it. Notice a woman or girl who is behaving fearful, seems abused and avoids discussing where she from, where she lives etc., alert someone.

This also goes for young local girls. Something is very wrong when a teenager runs away from home and shacks up with a man twice her age. You see it, say something. That child needs help, that child needs someone to listen.

I would categorically like to state that I believe there is a special place in hell for women who exploit other women, especially underage ones.

Listen I am not prude. If partying with hookers and listening to EDM is your thing, well that’s your thing. However be responsible with it. I guarantee you someone at that party suspected something was amiss about those women and instead of being a man and drawing a line they went along with it and that makes them especially repulsive.

Let’s hope those involved on all levels are charged. Let’s hope the powers that be can help that 14-year-old, whose childhood has been stolen from her.

If you have suspicions or information regarding human trafficking, be a hero to some poor girl and contact the Counter-Trafficking Unit at 800-4288. Likewise if you suspect a young girl is being abused or if you know the whereabouts of a runaway call Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS or call the Children’s Authority report line at 800-2014.






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