Local May 16, 2023 | 3:19 pm

Prosecutors seek preventive detention for man charged with trafficking Haitian children for begging exploitation

Santiago.- The Santiago Prosecutor’s Office has filed a request for preventive detention against a man accused of trafficking in migrants, specifically Haitian children who were exploited through forced begging. The request for coercive measures was made to the Judicial Office of Permanent Attention Services.

Led by prosecutor Juan Osvaldo García, the Department of Human Trafficking and Trafficking conducted thorough intelligence work to uncover the operation’s modus operandi, contacts, potential accomplices, and victim profiles. The investigation revealed that the accused, Franklin Agustín, was leading the trafficking network.

According to the Public Ministry, the network recruited minors from Haiti under the false promise of a better life, only to exploit them by forcing them to beg in various locations in Santiago. Agustín profited from the money collected by the victims, which was used to cover their daily expenses, including lodging and food.

The request for coercive measures identified six victims, aged between 9 and 15 years old, who were subjected to Agustín’s control and manipulation. The accused would threaten and harass the victims, compelling them to meet daily monetary quotas. The victims were provided with cardboard signs asking for money to eat.

Evidence presented by the Santiago Prosecutor’s Office revealed that one of the victims, a 9-year-old child, suffered serious injuries after being hit by a vehicle while begging at an intersection. Agustín had left the child unattended at the time.

The forced begging endured by the victims not only violated their human dignity but also placed their lives at risk and deprived them of education, development, and a healthy upbringing. The Public Ministry emphasized the detrimental effects of begging, which made the children dependent on the goodwill of others.

The case has been provisionally classified under articles 1 and 3 of Law 137-03 on Illicit Smuggling of Migrants and Human Trafficking. The request for preventive detention reflects the serious nature of the offenses committed and the need to protect the victims and ensure the accused’s presence throughout the legal proceedings.

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