Women from South America are lured into T&T and kept in “houses” as virtual slaves throughout T&T. And as a measure to curb human trafficking, T&T and Colombia are expected to sign an agreement to combat this scourge. Making the disclosure yesterday was National Security Minister Gary Griffith at a news conference after crime talks were held with a Colombian delegation at the Ministry of National Security, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain.
Saying human trafficking was one which had negative effects on both countries, Griffith added, “The main concept of the agreement is to find an avenue to mesh the minds between both countries to see what we can do to crack the trade of human trafficking. “We intend to mix the intelligence between both countries and find what can be done to put an end to it,” Griffith said. He said discussions also centred on determining what countries the women were coming from and how respective countries could “block” their entry in T&T.
What was also paramount during the talks was how T&T's energy sector could be better secured, Griffith added. “What they (Colombia) would be doing is ensuring we have a proper lockdown of our energy sector and preparing us for any such eventuality that might occur,” the national security minister said.
Griffith said several other issues were discussed including the acquisition of assets and building stronger relations with Colombia. The government is seeking to acquire a long-range patrol vessel for the Coast Guard from Colombia. “We think that Colombia could be of value to us in different aspects of training in preparation to terrorism, trans-national organised crime, in drug procedures, criminal investigations, dealing with extortion and other such measures,” Griffith said.
He said as far back as 1968, T&T and Colombia had established diplomatic relations but it took over 40 years before a formal relationship was recognised in the area of security cooperation. “It is our intention to drive this forward and not just to have a talkshop, because we have had several meetings in the last week or two and what we need to do is to start to implement.
“This would be of regional benefit to both countries,” Griffith added. The Colombian team was headed by its Minister of National Defence Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno, Jaime Gnecco, director of International Relations and Cooperation, Vice Admiral Rodolfo Amaya, Chief of Naval Operations and other representatives.