National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds has revealed that Trinidad and Tobago has recorded its first conviction for offences under the Human Trafficking Act after a well-organised and well-run criminal trial in the High Court.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Minister Hinds said the conviction stemmed from a 2016 matter involving Anthony Michael Smith, 31, and a then 16-year-old female victim of Trinidad and Tobago nationality.
However, Hinds said the convict, Smith, removed his electronic monitoring bracelet and absconded before the trial.
Smith was initially slapped with 21 charges but after a preliminary inquiry, five of those charges proceeded to trial.
Smith was found guilty on all five charges and, when recaptured, will serve 15 years in prison.
According to reports, the victim was groomed by Smith after responding to an ad and placed to work in his bar. Her passport was confiscated.
Sometime in 2015 he asked her to assist him with a foreign national staying at a hotel in Trinidad. This assistance was in the form of performing acts of sex with the foreign national, who was just one of the many that followed.
The victim gave evidence that she saw Smith collect money on her behalf from the clients he had her served. She also suffered beatings, embarrassment, and sexual attacks from Smith as well as some of the clients.
The victim was in Smith’s custody from December 2014 to August 2015.