A pastor was among three people detained by police in Trinidad Wednesday morning, following the discovery of 69 people being held in cages at a facility being described as a church.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith described the case as “virtual modern-day slavery” and that the scene was barbaric. Griffith said there were reports that some of the 65 men and four women were being tortured.
He said Taser guns and batons were seized.
It is believed that the people, some of whom are reportedly mentally challenged, were underfed, beaten, and caged.
Griffith said each case would be thoroughly investigated as it appeared that some family members were deliberately sending their loved ones to gain profit. He said the people rescued from the facility are to undergo medical examinations.
A report in the Trinidad Express said that families would take their drug-addicted relatives to the facility for help — and that at the end of the treatment period, the managers would often advise that the addicts be kept for an additional period. This was at an additional cost.
According to the newspaper, the wards were not allowed to leave the location and security guards on duty were not allowed to take cell phones beyond the walls. One security guard was fired when he raised issue with the treatment of the inmates.