T&T’s First Convicted Human Trafficker Finally Captured

(TT GUARDIAN) – Tunapuna businessman Anthony Smith, who escaped custody before he became the first person to be convicted as a human trafficker in Trinidad and Tobago, was finally captured by a team of police officers on Sunday evening.

Smith had absconded from his court trial last September and had been on the run from law enforcement after being convicted for several offences between 2014 and 2015.

In a statement yesterday, the T&T Police Service (TTPS) said a female apprentice, 20, of Kelly Village, who police believe was helping Anthony stay undetected from law enforcement officers, was also arrested in the police operation and is currently assisting a team of detectives with ongoing enquiries.

The TTPS said at 6 pm on Sunday, officers from the North-Central Division Gang and Intelligence Unit (NCDGIU), along with the North-Central Division Task Force (NCDTF) and North Central-Community Policing Officers, continued surveillance at a location in Kelly Village, Caroni, where a companion of Smith was observed.

NCDGIU, NCDTF and NCD Community Police officers subsequently moved in and captured and arrested Smith and his companion.

Smith, 38, was first arrested and charged on January 5, 2016, for recruiting a child for the purpose of trafficking; 17 charges of sexually penetrating a child; five charges of child prostitution and three charges of assault.

The offences occurred during the period December 2014 to July 2015. On April 28, the matter was set for trial on September 18, 2023. The trial commenced on that date and after two days of evidence, Smith absconded after freeing himself from an electronic monitoring device.

The trial continued in his absence and on November 2, 2023, a jury found Smith guilty on all five counts of trafficking of a child. He was sentenced to 15 years on each count, with the sentences to run concurrently and to begin on his arrest.

The exercise was spearheaded by ACP Subero, Snr Supt Smith, Supt Norbutt, coordinated by ASP Ramharack, Insp Greene, and supervised by Sgts (Ag) Dardaine, Pamphill, Cpls Greenidge, Scipio and Tannis.