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23
Fri, Aug

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PROTECT OUR YOUTHS: Sgt Michelle Lewis of the Child Protection Unit and Acting ASP Michael Jackman at police press briefing at Police Administration Building in Port of Spain. PHOTO COURTESY TT POLICE SERVICE

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POLICE have noted a new trend developing in this country where predators, in order to avoid detection and prosecution, are resorting to drugging minors who are then raped. In some cases, the rape leads to a pregnancy that the child or teen cannot explain to her parents and the police. This has led the police to issue new warnings to young girls and their parents to be extra vigilant.

In confirming that sexual penetration continues to be the number one offence committed against minors in TT, Sgt Michelle Lewis of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) yesterday confirmed to Newsday, that drugs are being administered via food or drinks to minors who are then raped but are left with no recollection of the assault.

Lewis spoke on the issue with Newsday after addressing the weekly police press briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain. She said there have been cases of minors being drugged either through food or drink and later learn they are pregnant without having any recollection of how it happened.

“Sometime down the road the child is pregnant and she has no recollection of having sexual intercourse with anyone let alone being raped,” she said. “They may remember going into a vehicle for example, and a person giving them something to drink. But that would be it. Who the person was or what happened after is all a blur. They will recall they went somewhere but cannot recall what happened.”

Sgt Lewis continued, “The child can’t remember taking off her clothes...absolutely nothing. We want young people to pay attention even when they are in cyber space. Be careful who you communicate with and who you give your information to. Be vigilant, do not post things online such as images that you would not ordinarily share in public.”

“We also want parents to be aware of who their children’s friends are. Look through their phones. There are a lot of burden on our officers and some of it can be prevented if parents pay more attention to their children,” Lewis said. She said the CPU has had a number of reports coming in from the country’s nine police divisions and it is looking at a particular ring in specific areas of Port of Spain.

A similar incident occurred on February 1, when two teenage girls realised they were both pregnant and had no recollection on how they were impregnated and who their perpetrators were. There is a suspicion, police sources said, that PH drivers (private hire) are involved in this drugging and raping of minors, especially as many of these drivers operate along routes that bring them into daily contact with school children.

Sgt Lewis said the CPU has been observing this trend of minors being raped after being drugged occurring in particular areas in Port of Spain and in Northern Division. “We want young people, especially teenagers from 13 years, to pay particular attention to who you befriend. Please don’t hop into a vehicle with people who you don’t know or give out your phone numbers especially on the internet. Please don’t do it,” Lewis said. She emphasised that parents and guardians have a duty to properly care for children under their management.

She said the number of offences committed against children continues to be a great source of concern for the TTPS. “When we look at the statistics, we see that sexual penetration against a child carries more than 60 per cent of all reported attacks on minors over the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

We see that sexual touching is the second highest prevailing offence and we have also seen cruelty against a child as the third most highest.”

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