– Advertisement –
Saint Lucia’s Department of Home Affairs, asserting that human trafficking is ‘very real’ has called on everyone to be on guard.
The call came Friday as the Department welcomed news of the safe return of missing 15-year-old Darlene Piltie, a student of the Micoud Secondary School.
At the same time, it added its voice to the call for the safe return of 16-year-old Haillie Davy, a student of the same institution.
However, the Department of Home Affairs made it clear that it was unable at this point to issue any statements that would constitute or describe the cases of the missing teenage girls as incidents of human trafficking.
“The Department would be acting prematurely to make such linkages as investigations are still very active in the two matters that have been in the public domain recently,” the release observed.
It urged citizens to continue to prioritise the best interest of women and girls and, in so doing, to protect them, support and respect them and teach them to be vigilant against society’s ills.
According to the Department of Home Affairs, traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to lure their victims and to force them into labour or commercial sexual exploitation.
It said there’s data indicating that traffickers commonly target people who are vulnerable in various ways, be it emotionally, psychologically, socially, or those facing economic hardship.
It noted that under the Counter-Trafficking (Amendment Act) No. 3 of 2021, a person who engages in, attempts to engage in or organizes or directs another person to engage in trafficking in persons, commits an offence and is liable on conviction upon indictment to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years.
– Advertisement –