PRESIDENT Paula-Mae Weekes declared it is shameful there are reports of modern-day slavery in TT.
In her Emancipation Day message to the nation, the President said, “It is shameful, given the legacy of African enslavement, that reports of modern-day slavery are rampant in our nation.
“A recent study bestowed upon TT the unenviable distinction of having the highest demand for sex and prostitution services in the region, with thousands of Venezuelan women being trafficked to this nation to be sold into sexual slavery.”
She said as the first nation to officially commemorate the abolition of slavery, “TT must set the standard for upholding the rule of law and rejecting injustice and abuse.”
History cannot be allowed to repeat itself, she said, “and those who participate in the subjugation and enslavement of others must be confronted and brought to justice.”
Acknowledging that covid19 protocols had resulted in Emancipation Day celebrations being adjusted, Weekes said, “As we don our African garb, sing, dance and eat traditional foods, albeit in restricted numbers, let us advocate for an end to all forms of oppression in our nation and keep our sights on the long-term goal of achieving total emancipation.”
While TT can take pride in its ethnic diversity, Weekes said, “We cannot be blind to or complacent about addressing unresolved and deep-seated issues that belie our vaunted rainbow nature and undermine the values of our republic.”
She added that the lessions of TT’s violent past “must produce in all of us an intolerance for bigotry, injustice and inequity and a determination to cherish and defend the rights and dignity of all.”
From a historical perspective, Weeks said by the time the slave trade was finally dismantled, “over 11 million people had been forcibly exiled to the Americas to serve brutal life sentences on the plantations of the New World.”