A woman from Orange Walk Town is tonight behind bars waiting to be tried for Human Trafficking. On Saturday 21st November 2015, acting upon information received, Orange Walk Police conducted a raid at Dominguez Bar located on Otro Benque Road, Orange Walk, where they located Rosa Anita Garcia, Guatemalan National and owner of the bar. Also present at the establishment were two other females also of Guatemalan Nationality.
The mother and daughter, ages 48 and 27 respectively, reported to authorities that on the 12th of November 2015 they were brought to Belize by Garcia under the pretense that they were going to be employed in a fast food establishmen but instead Garcia put them to work at the bar and forced them to sell beer and drink with clients. One of the females also reported to the cops that on two occasions Garcia forced her to have sex with strangers and when she refused to do so Garcia threatened to kill her mother and her two children who are in Guatemala.
According to the women they have not received a cent from Garcia from the time they arrived in Belize. To make matters worse for Garcia, the women reported that she kept them locked up in the establishment. Garcia has since been detained pending an investigation of trafficking in persons and she is also being investigated in Guatemala for Human Trafficking. While Garcia is yet to be charged for Human Trafficking as the case is still being put together, she has been charged by the Immigration Department. Reports are that Garcia was charged with failure to comply with conditions of a visitor’s permit, to which she pled guilty for not undergoing a monthly renewal of her permit and failure to comply with conditions subject to which a permit has been granted, to which she pled not guilty in relation to allegations that she had been illegally engaged in employment here in Belize.
She is to reappear in court tomorrow morning, when judgment should be handed down in the matter. As for the two complainants, they have been placed under the care of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Council.
Of note is that back in the month of July Belize was once again placed on Tier 2 of the 2015 Trafficking in Persons report published by the US State Department. In the TIP report, the Department of State places each country either on Tier one, two or three. For the past seven years Belize has been placed on Tier 2 meaning that we are on a watch list.