Friday, July 16, 2010


It seems that nobody in this country has really been paying attention to a rather serious problem that exists in many countries around the world, including our own sweet little Trinidad & Tobago. I am talking about the trafficking in sex workers who are being brought over primarily from Columbia, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. These women, in an effort to escape from desparately poor conditions in their native countries, are seduced into coming over here ... many of them enterimg the country illegally ... and then are reduced into bondage by the unscrupulous men who grab their passports and tell them that they have to pay them a huge sum of money (I have heard reports of something like US$6,000) before their passports are returned. In addition, if the women refuse to work for the traffickers they find themselves being reported to the police who come and arrest them, throw them in jail, and after a long while eventually deport them. The women often have families (read young children) back home who are dependant on monies being sent back on a regular basis. Any stint in jail will result in literal starvation for these children. As a result the majority of these women are forced into prostitution. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

From time to time the police will raid a brothel, arrest the women and deport them ... I have heard it said that these raids usually take place when the brothel owner stops paying his protection money or is late with his payments. I don't know if that is true ... but it sounds believable, doesn't it?

The conditions which exist for these women are little better than slavery ... in fact there are many critics around the world who do refer to this trafficking in women as slavery! I agree with them.

So, what can we do about it? What should we do about it? You don't have to look very far to find a solution nor do we have "to re-invent the wheel". Sweden did it a few years ago. We need to change the law so that the women are no longer arrested for prostitution. In other words, let's legalise prostitution. But (and it is a big "but") let's make it illegal to hire a prostitute! In other words, the woman will no longer be arrested for the crime of prostitution, but any man who uses a prostitute will be treated as the criminal.

Will this cut out the problem? No. But it will reduce the demand for prostitutes and it will cut back on this terrible problem. The statistics coming out of Sweden show that the legalisation of prostitution and the criminalisation of the 'johns' has done just that. We have got to try something and soon. What is being done to these women is terribly wrong. A fair, just and humane society should not tolerate this. Don't you agree?


  1. Interesting. I am a Venezuelan who lived and worked for a while in POS. While living there I watched this closely and can confirm that it is 100% true. In fact well connected "visitors" have a raincheck with the Police in the area before going to these places so that they literally enter along with the police who stay with them for the night (of course visitors pay for one or two drinks - and more). Given that the Police will not visit or raid the place while the officers are also having fun, the activity is considered "safe" for all until the officers start to leave.

  2. This happens extensively in Antigua too using women and girls from Dominican Republic. The lightness of the skins of most of the prostitutes "turns on" the male customers apparently.