Over 30 detained in anti-human trafficking operation

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Over 30 people are in the custody of several law enforcement agencies following a joint anti-human trafficking operation at two strip clubs in the city overnight.
Their detention came after searches at the Cheetah Night Club on Joseph Lane  and G Spot Night Club on Independence Avenue during the operation called Libertado. The daughter of the woman who owns the Cheetah Night Club is among those in custody while no one from the management of the G-Spot Nightclub is in custody yet.
Most of those in custody have been identified as possible trafficked persons. A few others are believed to be in breach of the country’s immigration and labour laws. While, another few are suspected offenders of the country’s human trafficking and immigration laws.
The majority of those in custody, and who are Jamaican nationals, identify as dancers and strippers working at the clubs and they are all being held at the Immigration Detention Centre in Coolidge, at the former “Panam Base”.
The Public Safety ministry issued a statement this morning saying operation “Libertado” is the name given to region-wide joint Action Day Operations which are in collaboration with INTERPOL.
The operation seeks to free as many victims of human trafficking as possible. As such, the joint operation targeted these establishments based on information and intelligence.
The operation was spearheaded by the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Committee, within the Ministry of Public Safety and Labour.
Other participating organisations included members of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, the Fire Department, the Department of Immigration, the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP), the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF), and the Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
The operation comes two months after a similar raid was carried out at Jam Dung Night Club and Wendy’s Bar and over 20 people were detained. The owner of Jam Dung, Cheryl Thompson, was later charged with four counts of Human Trafficking and the matter is pending before the court.

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