President Paula-Mae Weekes has lamented that reports of modern day slavery are rampant in Trinidad and Tobago.
In her Emancipation Day message to the nation, she noted that a recent study revealed that thousands of Venezuelan women have been trafficked to this country to be sold as sexual slaves.
“It is shameful, given the legacy of African enslavement, that reports of modern-day slavery are rampant in our nation. A recent study bestowed upon Trinidad and Tobago the unenviable distinction of having the highest demand for sex and prostitution services in the region, with thousands of Venezuelan women being trafficked to this nation to be sold into sexual slavery.”
The President added that as the first nation to officially commemorate the abolition of slavery, Trinidad and Tobago must set the standard for upholding the rule of law and rejecting injustice and abuse.
History, she said, cannot be allowed to repeat itself and those who participate in the subjugation and enslavement of others must be confronted and brought to justice.
Weekes said this year’s celebration of Emancipation Day must be used as a stark reminder that there are hurdles yet to be overcome.
The President said there are many unresolved and deep-seated issues that must be addressed in Trinidad and Tobago.
“While we in Trinidad and Tobago can take pride in our ethnic diversity, we cannot be blind to or complacent about addressing unresolved and deep-seated issues that belie our vaunted rainbow nature and undermine the values of our Republic. The lessons of our violent past must produce in all of us an intolerance for bigotry, injustice and inequity and a determination to cherish and defend the rights and dignity of all.”