Pastor denies involvement in human trafficking

Founder of the church where nearly 70 people were “rescued” by police Wednesday, in what lawmen later described as “the biggest situations pertaining to human trafficking in this country”, has denied any involvement in human trafficking.

Pastor Glen Awong, in a telephone interview with the Trinidad Express newspaper yesterday, said he believes the police raid on the Transformed Life Ministry and Rehabilitation Centre in Arouca, east of here, could be linked to an ongoing court battle with the State for the non-payment of TT$1.4 million.

“I worked for the Government under the street dwellers programme with the Ministry of Social Development and they are owing me money.

“The information about human trafficking… that doesn’t exist by me. They talk about fraud… that don’t exist by me. But it seems as if it was something more they were looking for. I sued the Government and I have a case going on with them right now and I feel this is something that came from the head,” he told the newspaper.

The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), in a statement, said that during a “sting operation” early Wednesday, law enforcement officials were able to rescue 69 citizens, including four women from the facility.

The statement said that those rescued range from ages 20 to 60s, all held captive, where most of them were in cages and some handcuffs.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, speaking to reporters outside the church Wednesday, said that “we have now cracked what is the biggest situations pertaining to human trafficking in this country”.