Sixty nine people believed to be victims of human trafficking have been rescued from cages at a church in Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago.
Search warrants were issued pursuant to Section 13 Chap. 12:10 of the Trafficking in Persons Act, after a period of monitoring and investigations by the Special Operation Response Team and the T&T Police Service.
Police believe that they have cracked the biggest human trafficking ring in the country at the The Transformed Life Ministry Rehabilitation Centre.
The people, believed to be victims of “modern day slavery” were made up of both men and women and are between the ages of 19 to 70 years.
Some of them claim that they had been in the facility for years and looked frail, they claim that they have been tortured.
It is believed that family members of victims deliberately send their loved ones to the church facility.
Most of the 65 men and 4 women were kept in cages and some of them were handcuffed. Authorities also saw tasers and batons at the premises.
Medical services from the North Central Regional Health Authority attended the facility and conducted on-scene examinations of the “captives”.
Authorities were satisfied that 69 people held in disturbing circumstances were freed after been held against their will and subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment.
Six people including the church Pastor were arrested at the facility, which was described as a rehabilitation centre. Investigations are continuing.