3 held by Colombian authorities for T&T sex trafficking ring
Colombian authorities have detained three women and are searching for another in connection with a sex trafficking ring which brought Colombian women to Trinidad and Tobago under false pretences and forced them into prostitution.
The office of the Attorney General in Colombia said in a statement issued October 3, 2018, that over 100 Colombian girls, teenagers and women were lured from Colombia over to Trinidad and Tobago with promises of jobs, only to be sold into sex slavery.
The reports came from women who said they had been detained for up to 10 years and upon their return to Colombia, made reports to the authorities.
The release said a crime ring in the neighbourhood of La Dorada, Caldas, made false job offers to over 100 girls, teenagers and women, took them to Trinidad and Tobago and forced them to engage in sexual activities.
The women said they were offered salaries of up to $30,000,000 Colombian pesos (TT$60,000), to work as waitresses, nurses or nannies in Trinidad and Tobago.
The women were even offered documents and a portion of the money as a loan in order to start the alleged jobs.
The women were transported via Venezuela and entered the country by boat.
Trapped in Port of Spain brothel, imprisoned by immigration
The Attorney General's office said upon arrival in Trinidad and Tobago, the women were taken to a 'commercial establishment' in Port of Spain which 'had the appearance of hotel' but was actually a brothel.
The release said the women were stripped of their documents and their movements were monitored. Their food was restricted as well as their use of public services.
They were exploited commercially for sexual purposes until they repaid their debts spent on travel and maintenance, which was continually increased so that the women were never allowed to escape.
The information obtained showed that when women were close to repaying their debts or if they did not want to work or became ill, they were turned over to immigration authorities who arrested and imprisoned them.
The report added that although these reports were obtained from women in the La Dorada, Caldas region, who have since returned from Trinidad and Tobago, is it suspected that women from many other Colombian regions were also abducted, including Eje Cafetero, Buenaventura and other municipalities of Valle del Cauca.
Arrest warrant issued for prostitution crime ringleader living in T&T
The release said three Colombian women have since been captured - Edna Ruth Avendaño Esterling, Monica Tatiana Avendaño Esterling, and Angie Carolina Hernández López - in connection with the crime ring.
All three women were charged with human trafficking and they will be detained at the Picaleña prison in Ibagué (Tolima).
The AG's office added that another arrest warrant was issued for Krisna Maryana Beltrán León, aka Andrea, the alleged ringleader of the trafficking network, who lives in Trinidad and Tobago and oversees the prostitution ring.
The release said Colombian authorities, through Interpol Colombia, will act to detain and return León to face the courts.
The Attorney General's office warned Colombian women not to believe job offers in foreign countries with exorbitant salaries and is urging others to come forward.
Anyone witnessing suspicious activity or victims of human trafficking can report to Colombian authorities at 018000522020 or from abroad to 0180009197478.
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