Trinidad police officers charged with child trafficking

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(CMC) — Two senior police officers are among three people charged with trafficking in persons for the purpose of exploitation.

A statement from the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service said that Acting Inspector Rajesh Gookool, 47 and Acting Sergeant Richard Lalbeharry, 43, were also both charged with receiving a benefit knowing that it resulted from the offence of trafficking a child, supporting a gang in the commission of gang-related activity, and misbehaviour in public office.

Gookool was additionally charged with sexual penetration of a child.

The police said that the third accused, Matthew Ross, 39, a bar manager, also faces a charge of supporting a gang in the commission of gang-related activity.

The trio is expected to appear before a Chaguanas Magistrate in Central Trinidad on Wednesday.

The men were among four suspects detained by members of the Special Task Force during an anti-crime exercise conducted in Central Trinidad last Friday.

The statement said that the Special Task Force was assisted by officers of the Special Operations Response Team and the Inter-Agency Task Force and that “the accused were suspected of trafficking in persons, mainly minors, from Venezuela”.

Venezuelans have been fleeing their homeland to escape the political and economic crisis in the South American country where President Nicolas Maduro is under pressure from the United States and its allies to step down from office in favour of the Opposition Leader Juan Guaido.

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