TRINIDAD – NewsDay
THE 13-year-old girl who appeared in a video on Facebook claiming she was forced into prostitution by her mother has been found.
The girl is now in the care of officials of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) and, up to late yesterday evening, was still being interviewed. She is to be placed in the St Judes Home for Girls in Port-of-Spain today.
The girl was found in Port-of-Spain on Friday evening following the immediate intervention of officials from the Children’s Authority and police after a video was circulated on Facebook in which the girl’s mother admitted to forcing her and other young girls into the sex trade. The money earned was to be sent to the mother’s boyfriend who was in jail.
Speaking to Sunday Newsday yesterday, a CPU official confirmed the child was taken into custody where she was questioned and expected to be medically examined. The official added that a temporary decision was made to place the girl in the care of the St Judes Home where she would be safe.
The official said several people were still being questioned in connection with the case and that authorities were still searching for the teenager’s mother.
In the video, the 13-year-old girl claimed her mother is forcing her to “make fares” along with several other girls, and said she was fed up with enduring that treatment from her mother for the past three months.
“I have a troubled background and I’m asking for help and nobody’s helping me,” she implored. “My mother is sending me to make fares on Murray Street (in Port of Spain). I’m telling the police but the police are not helping me.”
The girl said her mother physically beats her and starves her to compel her into prostitution.
A Facebook page, said to be in the name of the girl’s mother, contained several disturbing posts. In one picture, a girl who appears to be under age poses at night on a city street for a photo wearing a leopardskin print navel-breaker, cut-off shorts and patterned stockings. The woman and girl pose bent-over and bottoms-up in another picture.
The Children’s Authority on Friday said under the Children Act 2012, “Anyone who causes or encourages the prostitution of or sexual penetration of a child commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.”