The owner of the Kitty-based Liquid Love bar, who was slapped with five offences including human trafficking, was yesterday sentenced to 12 months in prison after she was found guilty of withholding immigration documents from two Venezuelan women and employing an underage girl to work at her establishment.
Savita Persaud, 33, of Station Street, Kitty, was also fined a total of $1.1M when she appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
Late yesterday afternoon when the matter was called, the Chief Magistrate found Persaud guilty of all five offences. However, she was only sentenced yesterday for three offences.
The first two charges against Persaud alleged that, between January 31, 2019 and March 8, 2019 at Station Street, Kitty, she engaged in trafficking in persons by recruiting, transporting, and harbouring two Venezuelan women for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Persaud received another two charges which stated that, during the same period, she unlawfully withheld the identification cards of two Venezuelan nationals in aid of trafficking in persons. She was found guilty of these two charges and fined $500,000 on each.
The last charge stated that, during the same period, she employed a 17-year-old child on a property that sells intoxicating liquor. She was found guilty of this offence and fined $100,000.
The woman had not been required to plead to the charges.
Chief Magistrate McLennan yesterday sentenced Persaud to 12 months in prison on each of the three charges. However, her sentences will run concurrently.
Persaud is expected to make her next court appearance on June 14, when she will be sentenced for the two charges of trafficking in persons.
According to information, the businesswoman employed the Venezuelan nationals to work at her business place and she also rented them a place to live. However, when the women were unable to pay the rent, Persaud reportedly confiscated their travel documents and forced them into prostitution.
It was reported that the Venezuelan women would normally have to hand over the monies to the businesswoman, who promised to return their travel documents.
The women subsequently reported the matter to the police. An investigation was carried out and Persaud was arrested.