Awal Abdul Sharif a 34-year-old Ghanaian national who resides in Trinidad and Tobago, has been charged with human trafficking contrary to Section 176C (1) (a) of the Criminal Code, Chapter 72 A of the 2013 Laws of Grenada.
According to a release issued by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) last week, Sharif a security officer from the Twin-Island Republic, is alleged to have caused Numkala Tiwari Kafle – 21, Ankit Dhakal – 19, Pradip Adhikari – 21, Dipak Sapkota – 22, Dipak Bhujel - 20 and Chandra Thapa – 20, all students; and Arjun Kafle – a 32-year-old cook, all citizens of Nepal, to unlawfully enter the State of Grenada at a place other than a lawful port of entry and failing to have them report to an immigration officer for examination.
The seven Nepalese nationals were up to last week awaiting extradition to St. Lucia.
Human trafficking dates back to the distant past and is very widespread internationally; but somehow Grenada seems to be always taking these matters lightly until it hits squarely on target. Authorities are still very ignorant as to the vulnerability of the tri-isle nation for a wide range of international crimes and hence don’t seem to be proactive in terms of preventive measures. Grenada and St. Vincent are ideally located in the region for any form of trafficking whether it is human or drugs. It is well established that the RGPF is having a tough time dealing with drugs coming from the north through the Grenadine islands. By the Commissioner’s own admission, the area is difficult to monitor based on the number of small islands in between. Much more manpower and coast guard vessels are required, which the governments could ill-afford at this time. This is the reality that the human and drug traffickers are exploiting.
It is noteworthy that in the recent detention, not a single Grenadian or West Indian was involved. It is also reasonable to assume that this human trafficking is big business in light of suspicion that Awal Abdul Sharif is profiting big time financially from the business. It is also reasonable to assume that, with every one caught; there is also one or even more that elude authorities. These traffickers always operate to elude the law therefore one caught should not be a great boast. On the contrary, the lawmen should step up vigilance knowing full well that there are other operations in progress as it could never be felt that Sharif was the first attempt. Similarly, Grenada should not turn a blind eye to the international religious violence perpetrated by Islamic Fundamentalists, and take the region’s peace and comfort for granted.