Cayman needs to be alert to people-trafficking

| 28/05/2019 | 21 Comments
Cayman News Service

CoP Derek Byrne at ACCP Conference

(CNS): Police Commissioner Derek Byrne has said Cayman Islands law enforcement agencies need to be alert to the issue of people-trafficking, even though it is not as much of an issue here yet as it is elsewhere in the region. Following a number of recent court cases indicating that human trafficking may be the underlying crime where offenders have been prosecuted for other offences, Byrne accepted that the police and the new border agency need to watch out for the signs and do their best to ensure that immigration to Cayman remains fully legal and people are not being exploited.

While Cayman has not seen significant amounts of either refugees or economic migrants being smuggled into the country, there are signs emerging of organised trafficking rings around the region that are manipulating the work permit system here to smuggle people, especially sex workers, into this country. In addition to illegal migrants hitching lifts from Jamaica on drug canoes, the movement of women seems to be more organised.

Speaking to CNS at the end of last week’s Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) Conference, which was held on Grand Cayman, Byrne said that human trafficking was a point of discussion at the event as it is a major concern for some islands in the region, and Cayman is not immune.

“This means we need to be on alert and watching for signs,” he said, as he pointed to the intelligence-led work by the Customs and Border Control (CBC) Agency. “Trafficking comes in many forms and can be hidden in plain sight,” he noted, referring to sham marriages, the issue of workers who might be exploited and woman trafficked for the sex trade.

In recent months two cases in the courts have highlighted the question of people-trafficking, though so far the police have not joined these dots. A long list of defendants were recently tried regarding allegations of corrupt payments made to immigration officers to help non-English speakers pass the department’s English Language Test to secure a work permit.

But during the course of the trial it became clear that one of the civilians tried in the case, who was accused of bribing officers, was also connected to the recruitment of a significant number of Spanish women for small bars around George Town, and in some cases hair salons, none of whom could speak English.

Then just last week, a George Town man was convicted of living off the earnings of prostitutes and the court heard he had a stable of almost three dozen female sex-workers. At the time he was based at a George Town bar that was mentioned several times in the immigration case as recruiting several of the non-English speaking Spanish women.

While no one has been charged for human trafficking, it is apparent that there is a hidden sex-trade in Cayman, which appears to be centred around some bars in the capital and barber shops or hair salons.

Byrne said that the police in conjunction with the CBC, which has made great strides in intelligence-led work, must continue their partnership to ensure that they pick up on information that will lead them to those committing offences surrounding illegal immigration as well as direct immigration offences.

“We need to ensure all immigration in Cayman is legal,” the commissioner said. “These are the types of crimes that we need the local community to help us with, as they are aware when people arrive in their neighbourhoods.”

Byrne said that the importance and success of community policing and how that helps to make safer communities was a big part of the regional conference. He said the additional 75 officers who boosted the RCIPS ranks to launch the Community Policing Department (CPD), as well as the new equipment, created a little envy for some police services in the region who struggle with resources.

But even with the budget increase, the commissioner was clear that the RCIPS cannot be complacent because crime is dynamic. He said there were still areas the police must work on in order to tackle emerging crime trends, especially online, and to focus on government’s policy of preventing young people from joining gangs and falling into a life of crime.

But Byrne said it was important to remember that Cayman was still a relatively safe place for people to live, work and visit.

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Category: Border Control, Crime, Police

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Barely recognize him. Is it just me? He looks completely different now than from when he took up his post?

  2. Johnny Rotten says:

    Nice speech but does he really know how entrenched this issue is. I guess he’s not of the guest list of some West Bay Road VIP rooms.

  3. Leroy Parker says:

    The commish and the RCIPS are in an information deficit. You don’t see the intelligence officers out in the bars and streets gathering intelligence. That’s where the deals take place.The commish not once spoke about the charter flights which causes a boom in the sex industry here. You don’t believe me? Summer coming and a fresh load coming soon to a bar near you.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Shh don’t scare my ladies away!

  5. Anonymous says:

    A little too late to enforce your own laws bro

  6. Ron Ebanks says:

    The Chief of Police is right about the Human trafficking and the Government should listen to what he’s saying .

  7. Anonymous says:

    Bullshit Byrne. You know of 32 women engaging in the provision of unlawful services for reward, and at least 15 men who have engaged their services. All are guilty (at the very least) of dealing in the proceeds of crime, and most will be guilty of immigration offences, and you have not made a single arrest. You do not appear take this community and its standards seriously.

    • Anonymous says:

      Precisely. People who engage in trafficking are way higher than the police. Police are just token enforcers while the real criminals run rampant in the higher echelons of society.
      Byrne is Lodge anyway, what does he care?

      • Anonymous says:

        No those who engage in it do so to provide services to those who are way higher than the police – they are often from the higher echelons of society and politics. You know who they are. And it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with Lodge other than it is predominantly men engaged in the futile exercise of trying to prove that their parts are as big as their egos!

    • Anonymous says:

      …or robust law enforcement. You leave criminals on our streets. That is not what you are being paid to do. Pick the all up, incarcerate those you should, and deport those you can. It is really quite simple. Cayman is becoming two separate societies. Please stop further degradation now!

  8. Anonymous says:

    How about stealing pet dogs and breeding them for cash, only to “return” them back (for ransom money) to their owners? Cayman has some real big problems.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This has been going on for years and Commissioner Byrne is going to find himself up against some very well connected people if he tries to stop it now. It’s an established fact of life that women employed here in certain areas of hospitality are doing a lot more than serving customers food and drinks.

    If he’s got any officers capable of working plain clothes without getting spotted all they have to do is work their way round the bars looking for places that offer ‘personal services’. It shouldn’t take them long to figure out which ones they are. At least one of them is either owned by, or run in partnership with, a serving RCIPS officer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Evidence of this? Care to share? You could always do your civic duty and inform Crimestoppers anonymously. 2 birds with one stone and all that. RCIPS can get rid of a corrupt officer and we free a woman from servitude.

      • Anonymous says:

        Waste of time reporting it to RCIPS and all Crimestoppers do is pass the tips straight on to the people who are covering it up.

        As for naming the establishments on this forum? I don’t think CNS’ lawyers would let them post the comments.

        And finally, if you don’t know where this is going on you clearly never go out drinking on Grand Cayman.

  10. Donkey Dick says:

    deportation order?

  11. Anonymous says:

    it’s ok as long as they’re not gay.

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