MARIGOT–A seventeen-year-old woman, originally from Sandy Ground and mother of a two-year-old child, has been transferred to Guadeloupe to appear before a Judge for Minors, as she is suspected of organising a prostitution ring of young girls in St. Martin for several years. She has been placed under judicial control.
According to French-side newspaper Le Pelican, which based its story on court papers, she was arrested on June 13, 2018, along with other persons, some of whom were young girls implicated in the affair. At least four of the girls were under 15. It was understood the 17-year-old put clients in touch with the young girl prostitutes.
Suspicion of a prostitution ring in operation first came to light in November 2017 when the mother of a 14-year-old girl reported to the Gendarmerie her daughter was being solicited for sex. A preliminary investigation was then launched by the Judicial Police and Gendarmerie, and later detectives.
The long inquiry revealed that the minors were not in school and “de-socialised,” according to the Vice-Prosecutor. The girls carried out their activities on both sides of the border.
Four of the young girls identified as victims are subjects of procedures to be followed under the supervision of a Judge for Juveniles. During interviews with the four victims they were asked what drove them into prostitution. Money was the principal motivation. Clients would pay between US $50 and $100 on average.
It is believed more young girls were involved, but it was not established whether they were engaged in prostitution or were accomplices.
Five clients, all adults, have also been arrested on suspicion of having used the services of the young prostitutes on a regular basis. They each face three years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros.
The 17-year-old at the centre of the affair was living with a 30-year-old male friend in Sandy Ground after the hurricane. He was said to have facilitated prostitution activities in the house for six months. He has been summoned to court in October 2018. A 60-year-old man also living in the same house has been summoned to court for ill-treatment of a minor.
The 17-year-old meanwhile is forbidden to have any contact with the other minors and is not allowed to return to St. Martin.