38 children murdered
By MIRANDA LA ROSE Wednesday, December 11 2013
WITHIN the past four years, 38 children have been murdered in this country, chairperson of the Child Protection Task Force and former Independent Senator Diana Mahabir-Wyatt yesterday revealed.
“By my count, 38 children have been murdered over the last four years,” she said noting that three alone have been murdered over the past month.
Speaking in her capacity yesterday as chair of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, during a panel discussion on the theme promoting human rights, at the UNDP’s office in Port-of-Spain, Mahabir-Wyatt and other panellists said human rights abuses are on the increase, in all forms, in TT and the biggest danger toward these rights is a culture of apathy.
Noting the increase in the murder of children, at the hands of those who should be protecting them, Mahabir-Wyatt called on adults to be more vigilant with their children among other adults.
Mahabir-Wyatt, who outlined the rights as enshrined in the Constitution and noted that they all provided for the protection against violence with the exception of one, welcomed the announcement by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) coordinator Richard Blewitt that the United Nations is debating the merits of a convention to deal with issues of the elderly.
“Domestic violence against elderly people is one of the biggest secrets that Trinidad and Tobago has. It goes on and on and on and no one speaks for the elderly,” she said.
Manager of the Police Service’s Victims and Witness Support Unit retired officer Margaret Sampson-Browne in her remarks noted not only women and girls are victims of sexual abuse and violence. “We have to understand what is happening to our boys,” she said.
The increase in sexual abuse against boys increased last year and is increasing this year, she said. Last year alone, she said the unit received 47 reports of buggery.
Echoing Mahabi-Wyatt, Sampson-Browne said the perpetrators are adults and the cries were mainly in the confines of the victims’ homes. “As such, adults have to protect children from adults,” Sampson-Browne said.
To curb violence and ensure people in general know their rights, Sampson-Browne said officers from the unit which operates in all nine policing divisions have been going into schools and communities, not only to support victims, but to teach them of their basic human rights. In her contribution, Deputy Director of the Counter-Trafficking Unit of the Ministry of National Security Alana Wheeler said human trafficking is active in TT and statistics are not a true indication of the situation as it exists.
From 2007 to the present, Wheeler said, TT has had 42 incidents of human trafficking. Since the unit started functioning earlier this year, she said, “we have had 12 victims, both men and women, but no child victim so far.”
Six were trafficked for sexual exploitation, two for domestic servitude and two for labour exploitation. The majority of the cases, she said being investigated at present were from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Venezuela.