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News day / He was speaking yesterday at a CTU presentation at the Children’s Library, National Library Building, Port-of-Spain to commemorate United Nations “World Day against Trafficking in Persons” observed yesterday.

He recalled a case at a school in east Trinidad where someone came to pick up a female student pretending to be a friend of the parent.

One girl in the audience said she knew of a boy that went with a driver but was “never seen again”.

Davis said that parents must teach children to say “no” in situations where people offer them something or ask them to go with them. During his presentation Davis explained to the approximately 40 children gathered that human trafficking had nothing to do with vehicular traffic or trafficking in drugs but is about moving people from place to place, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, and sometimes involves kidnapping or enticements.

Davis then asked about the significance of the Emancipation Day holiday and one girl responded that it meant freedom of the slaves. He explained that a type of slavery still exists in the form of human trafficking or “modern day slavery”.

He stressed to the children that if someone offers them something to come with them that they should not go and human traffickers like to pretend they are the children’s friend.

Asked what they should do if someone tried to lure them away, a few of the boys said they would fight with the perpetrator but Davis advised them to run away, scream at the top of their lungs, hide and try to find their parents, contact them or find a policeman. One boy said he would find “a Chinee man” to beat up the trafficker.

Davis said there are some parents who “overprotect” their children and these children “don’t know anything about anything”. He added that on their own these children cannot take care of themselves and others will come “and take care of them”. He stressed that potential traffickers could be men or women, their relatives, classmates or friends and they can even be lured via social media.

“There are people pretending to be your girlfriend, to care for you or like you. They don’t really like you, they just want to use you,” she stressed.

Davis also mentioned a case in Tobago where there was a case of a foreign national and a little boy staying at a resort. The hotel workers found the interaction between the two was “not right” and the two did not talk or make eye contact.

According to officials of the Child Protection Unit the boy was from Trinidad and was the man’s godson and the parents informed the unit that they had allowed the boy to travel with the man to Tobago and therefore no offence was found.

During the presentation Davis played two CTU public service announcements and Caribbean Kids and Families Therapy Organisation (CKFTO) performed a play on human and child trafficking using puppets.

CKFTO representative Michelle Laveau said human trafficking was happening “right now in Trinidad” and a boy asked “where they is?” Radio personality Garth St Clair also briefly addressed the children and stressed to them that anyone who offers them drugs “is not your friend”.

Davis encouraged anyone with information on human trafficking to call the CTU hotline at 800- 4CTU or 800-4288. He said that it may not be the case but “if you see something you should say some something”.

The CTU had its first two cases of child trafficking this year. In January this year, Anthony Smith, 30 of Tunapuna Road, Tunapuna, was slapped with 21 charges involving human trafficking, child prostitution and assault in a case involving a female child.

He was granted bail in the sum of $2 million to cover the 21 charges including that he caused a child to become a prostitute, human trafficking as well as sexually penetrating a child on various occasions between 2014 and 2015.

In the second case, in July two company directors of Borderline Security Solutions Ltd of Cunupia – Keston Pollard and Eddyson Gonzales – appeared before the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court on 13 criminal charges collectively, one of which includes trafficking in children against a male minor from St Vincent and the Grenadines

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