Trini cop faces trial on trafficking women

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – In Trinidad and Tobago’s first human trafficking case, a 55-year-old suspended police officer has been committed to stand trial on 13 charges of human trafficking and prostitution.

Constable Valentine Eastman was found to have a case to answer at the end of a preliminary inquiry that was heard in camera before Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington.

The policeman, who served in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for more than two decades, is accused of receiving the three Colombian women into the country or transporting or harbouring them for the purpose of exploitation between March 3 and March 24, 2013.

It is alleged that he took the trio to a brothel for the purpose of exploitation and prostitution.

Eastman was charged a month after the alleged offences occurred and his preliminary inquiry began in September 2014. Sixteen witnesses were called to give testimony.

He will continue on bail. However, the amount has been reduced from TT$350,000 (US$53,338) to TT$250,000 (US$38,098) with surety, or a cash alternative of TT$120,000 (US$18,287).