Monday 14 October, 2019

Update: 91 Venezuelans, including women, children, held by police

A large group of people who appear to be foreign nationals were seen alongside a police vehicle in a photo shared via social media.

A large group of people who appear to be foreign nationals were seen alongside a police vehicle in a photo shared via social media.

Update May 22, 2019, 6:35 pm:

Officers of the South Western Division have detained 91 people suspected to be Venezuelan nationals living in the country illegally. 

The detainees, including 10 children, are being processed at the Erin Police Station and are expected to be taken to the Siparia Police Station for further processing by the Immigration Division.

The officers, who were on Emergency Response Patrol, received information which led them to an illegal camp along National Trace, Beach Road.

The camp, which was located in a forested area, was occupied by 62 men, 19 women and 10 children.

The officers, assisted by Coast Guard officials secured the foreign nationals. 

 

Update May 22, 2019, 4:34 pm:

93 Venezuelans, including women and children, were found hiding in a camp in Palo Seco and will be handed over to immigration authorities, the Ministry of National Security said.

 

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Ministry said the group was held during ongoing Border Security Exercises which were conducted by the arms of the Ministry of National Security, including the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS). 

"This morning, one of these border patrol exercises located a camp in a forested area in Beach Camp, Palo Seco, where 93 persons believed to be Venezuelans were camping. Amongst those detained are men, women and children."

"These persons are currently being processed by the TTPS and will be handed over to the Immigration Division," the Ministry said.

Video footage showed the group standing silently under the guard of police officers. 

The situation comes amid reports of Venezuelans arriving in Trinidad Tobago only to be trafficked into forced prostitution and other inhumane situations. 

More and more people are risking their lives to travel to Trinidad and Tobago in a bid to escape Venezuela as circumstances become more volatile there. 

Venezuelan Deputy Carlos Valero said within the past month approximately 47 Venezuelans have gone missing in the waters between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago. 

Two vessels, the Jhonnaly Jose and the Ana Maria, sank at sea while trying to cross the Bocas from Venezuela to Trinidad. Only a few people survived. 

According to a report by Refugees International, Venezuelan refugees in Trinidad and Tobago are forced into hiding out of fear of persecution and enslavement by criminal entities. 

RI was told that, as of November 2018, an estimated 440 people were in detention in Trinidad and Tobago, where they lack adequate access to legal assistance and medical care. There have been no panels organized to independently monitor conditions of detention. 

Earlier this year, government announced that an amnesty would be set up to allow Venezuelans to work for a year once they registered their information with the authorities. Registration begins from May 31, 2019.

Minister Stuart Young thanked the police and the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force for their assistance in the exercise and committment toward protecting border security.

Original story:

Video footage and photos have been shared online showing people who appear to be non-nationals in a forest in South Trinidad.

Photos show the presence of police vehicles, while video footage shows what appears to be dozens of non-nationals. According to initial reports the incident took place in Palo Seco.

A witness said there were also women and children present. 

LoopTT has reached out to the Ministry of National Security and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for more information. 

The situation comes amid reports of Venezuelans arriving in Trinidad Tobago only to be trafficked into forced prostitution and other inhumane situations. 

More and more people are risking their lives to travel to Trinidad and Tobago in a bid to escape Venezuela as circumstances become more volatile there. 

Venezuelan Deputy Carlos Valero said within the past month approximately 47 Venezuelans have gone missing in the waters between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago. 

Two vessels, the Jhonnaly Jose and the Ana Maria, sank at sea while trying to cross the Bocas from Venezuela to Trinidad. Only a few people survived. 

According to a report by Refugees International, Venezuelan refugees in Trinidad and Tobago are forced into hiding out of fear of persecution and enslavement by criminal entities. 

RI was told that, as of November 2018, an estimated 440 people were in detention in Trinidad and Tobago, where they lack adequate access to legal assistance and medical care. There have been no panels organized to independently monitor conditions of detention. 

Earlier this year, government announced that an amnesty would be set up to allow Venezuelans to work for a year once they registered their information with the authorities. Registration begins from May 31, 2019.

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