SORT officers outside the facility in Arouca on Wednesday. Photo: Jermaine Cruickshank.

National Security Minister Stuart Young is thanking the law enforcement officers involved in “rescue” of 69 people at a drug rehabilitation centre and church at Eastern Main Road, Arouca.

In a statement, Stuart said: “I was contacted at approximately 2:30 a.m. by the Commissioner of Police Mr. Gary Griffith and briefed on an ongoing police operation taking place, where the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) had uncovered approximately 70 persons being held in very disturbing circumstances at what was being described as a rehabilitation centre.

I was also in communication with the Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh and the Director of the Counter Trafficking Unit of the Ministry of National Security, to ensure that necessary support was provided for an unfolding situation.

From the preliminary information provided to me, I am shocked and disturbed at the circumstances under which humans were being held and I strongly condemn same.

I remind persons that this is now an active and unfolding police investigation and I am certain that facts surrounding this disturbing matter will begin to be uncovered. Accordingly, it is prudent for little more to be said at this time and the TTPS should be permitted to do their work.

I thank all those involved in the operation of finding and freeing the victims who may have been held against their will and subject to inhumane and degrading treatment.”