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    Tuesday, May 21, 2019-5:38:36P.M.






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Regional News

Mother and stepfather sentenced for human trafficking in FSM

WENO, Chuuk (FSM Information Services) — On March 13, 2019 Federated States of Micronesia Supreme Court Associate Justice Larry Wentworth sentenced Jayson Jappan and Anreta Fret to 92 months imprisonment and eight months probation after finding them guilty of violating the FSM 2012 Trafficking in Persons Act.

After trial in February 2019, both defendants were found guilty of human trafficking, trafficking in children, aggravated human trafficking, and conspiracy. The offenses began when the defendants conspired to sexually abuse and exploit the child victim when she was nine years old and living with them on the island of Fananu, part of Nomwin Atoll in Chuuk State’s Hall Islands region.

However, during sentencing Judge Wentworth convicted the defendants of all charges except human trafficking, as the court held that human trafficking and aggravated human trafficking merged into one conviction.

In addition to imprisonment, the judge also ordered the defendants to each pay $40,000 in restitution to the now 15-year-old victim. The court found that, due to the sexual abuse and exploitation, the child victim became pregnant by defendant Jappan.

During trial the court also found that defendant Fret was equally culpable for the crimes as she knew and supported defendant Jappan’s actions.

The FSM Department of Justice plans to incarcerate Fret in Pohnpei, while Jappan will be incarcerated in Chuuk. The FSM DOJ will later move both defendants to its prison facility in Kosrae.

The department’s litigation division considers this sentence a progressive step in the fight against human trafficking in the FSM. The combined $80,000 in restitution imposed by the court on the two defendants is one of the largest in FSM history.

The core proceedings were very well attended and attracted interested persons from all walks of life including students, politicians, members of civil society, and local citizens.

The Chuuk State Department of Public Safety initially referred the case to the FSM Anti-Human Trafficking Division, which was then investigated by the FSM National Police. Assistant Attorney General Abigail Avoryie, director of the FSM Anti-Human Trafficking Division, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Buckner, director of the Criminal Justice Section, and Assistant Attorney General Mohammed Kutty prosecuted the case on behalf of the FSM.