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Belmopan bar owner found not guilty of trafficking 15-year-old girl

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Posted: Wednesday, October 27, 2021. 8:22 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: A bar owner from the Las Flores area of Belmopan, was found not guilty of a charge of human trafficking in the Belmopan Supreme Court this week.

Arley Castro, 40, was found not guilty of one count of human trafficking when she appeared in court before justice Antoinette Moore on Tuesday. Castro, a businesswoman, and mother of six children, owns the establishment Intentalo Bar, where it was alleged that she was using a 15-year-old girl as a prostitute between February and March of 2015.

The case was prosecuted by the DPP herself, Cheryl Lynn Vidal, while Castro was represented by Attorney Leroy Banner.

At the trial, the victim, who is now over 20-years-old, testified that her job was to serve beers and engage in sex work. She told the court that she would charge $150 for patrons to have sex with her and had to give $100 to Castro from each transaction. Castro, in her defense, said she never hired the minor to work at the bar and even had to call the police for her at one point because she was at the establishment while under-aged and was consuming alcohol.

Banner also pointed out that there were a number of discrepancies in the testimony, including the fact that the witness said that Castro has a scar under her eye which is not true. He also pointed out that the minor at the time said that she met Castro at the bar, where she was then offered the job.

Nine jurors deliberated for a little over two hours and returned with a 7-2 split in favor of the defendant.

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