Dozens found caged and shackled in Trinidad ex-convict rehab center, police say

PORT OF SPAIN (Reuters) - Dozens of people were found on Wednesday chained and in cages in a Trinidad and Tobago rehabilitation center for ex-prisoners run by a religious organization, police said.

Police said in a statement that 65 men and 4 women were rescued from a "modern-day slavery" operation at the Transformed Life Ministry Rehabilitation Centre in Arouca, 19 km east of the capital Port of Spain. Six people at the compound were arrested.

Police spokesman Wayne Mystar said all the people at the center were nationals of Trinidad and Tobago.

Transformed Life Ministry was founded 19 years ago by Glen Awong. According to its website, Awong, while serving a seven-year term in prison, "answered the call from God and started his ministry within the prison walls."

"Transformed Life Ministry’s mission is to serve male ex-prisoners and deportees, by providing safe transitional housing, developmental and rehabilitation programs, to promote healthy reintegration into society," the center says on the website.

Awong and the center did not respond to requests for comment.

The rescued men and women, some as young as 20 and others 60 or older, were taken to health facilities for medical treatment, the police said.

(Reporting by Linda Hutchinson-Jafar; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Matthew Lewis)

10/09/2019 15:03

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