One man in custody; 14-y-o 'sex-slave' taken in by the State...investigators find inconsistencies in her story
ONE ADULT male has been taken into custody after The Gleaner yesterday broke the story of 14-year-old Shanique, who claimed she was kidnapped, and, along with other girls, forced into prostitution.
Preliminary checks by the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) have revealed inconsistencies in the tale Shanique told The Gleaner on Monday of what might have actually occurred, resulting in her having been away from home for 24 days.
"At this point in time, based on our initial investigation, we cannot confirm that anything took place in Clarendon," the divisional detective inspector of CISOCA, Webster Francis, said in relation to Shanique's original report that she was abducted in Clarendon by a group of men.
"We can confirm that in relation to the report made and our investigation, that the matter brought to our attention was committed in the Corporate Area," Francis said.
Despite one man being in custody, Francis pointed out that investigations were still ongoing. In the meantime, Shanique has been taken into the care of the State for her own safety, according to Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna.
"She (Shanique) has been taken into our care and CISOCA is doing their investigations now," Hanna told The Gleaner. "She is in one of our homes for her own protection, for her own peace of mind, and also so that we can do the necessary assessment, investigation, and counselling if necessary, and so that she can get care. I don't think it would have been safe for her to remain in her regular community setting if that is where she was taken from."
But Shanique's mother, who has two other children, boys aged 12 and 10, is unhappy that the Child Development Agency (CDA) has separated her from her daughter. The mother is also claiming that she sought help from the agency more than two months ago on the first of two occasions when Shanique slept out overnight. She said that the agency is now being reactive.
"I feel real sad and distressed. I think she would rather be with her family because she didn't even tell me bye. That's how upset she is," the mother said.
"I went in with her to CDA over two months ago as I wanted to get counselling from an officer down there for her and me, and I took in a letter from the police. They said they would have called me, and all now ... . This is what I don't like; they should have been more proactive."
Hanna is, however, appealing to Shanique and her family to now cooperate with the police so that the perpetrator in the case can be brought to justice, citing that though more than 20 girls were rescued from child trafficking last year and seven arrests were made, there have been no convictions to date.