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Trafficking in Persons Report   -Report Home Page
Released by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
June 11, 2003

Country Narratives -- Countries A through G

ALBANIA (Tier 2)

Albania is a source and transit country primarily for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and begging, respectively. Female victims are trafficked to Italy and Greece, and on to other EU countries, such as Belgium, France, the U.K, and The Netherlands. Victims transiting Albania mostly come from Romania and Moldova, with smaller numbers from Bulgaria and Ukraine. Children are also reportedly trafficked from Albania to work as beggars in Italy and Greece. The Government of Albania does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In the past year, the government improved its law enforcement efforts, particularly in cooperation with Italy; police significantly reduced clandestine speedboat traffic across the Adriatic, and the number of foreign women transited through Albania for Western destinations decreased measurably. Nevertheless, corruption and lack of protection for vulnerable children remained problematic.

Prevention
The government’s Inter-Ministerial Commission on Human Trafficking coordinates its National Action Plan, now in its second phase of completion. Part of this plan included the appointment of a Minister of State who serves as the country's anti-trafficking coordinator. In this role, the Minister works with various ministries, NGOs and the international community to address trafficking in Albania. The Ministry of Education participated with NGOs to train teachers and to produce and disseminate information in schools on the dangers and mechanics of human trafficking. A series of 12 programs on public awareness was broadcast on television in 2002. The Ministry of Public Order completed a significant study indicating that more than 5,000 Albanian women and girls were trafficked into prostitution in the last decade.

Prosecution
The government criminalized trafficking in women and children in 2001. The Chief of the Ministry of Public Order’s (MOPO) Anti-Trafficking Sector coordinates the government’s anti-trafficking law enforcement activities. The MOPO has a unit in each prefecture, and recently created a delta force to enhance operations. Prosecutions of traffickers increased in the past year, as did efforts to punish or arrest corrupt government officials for involvement in trafficking; however, corruption is a major problem with little follow-through on most investigations. The government continues to show inadequate conviction and sentencing rates, with most defendants released for lack of evidence or ultimately charged with lesser crimes. The Organized Crime Sector and the Office of Internal Control also conduct specific anti-trafficking actions. In 2002, 144 trafficking cases were sent to trial by the General Prosecutor’s office and 17 people were convicted. The MOPO investigated 31 cases of police involvement in trafficking during 2002, with at least one officer convicted but given a minimal sentence. The government showed increased effectiveness in coordinated law enforcement efforts with the government of Italy and with the SECI Center in Bucharest. Its new Three Port Strategy increased its ability to monitor its porous borders and its overall interdiction capabilities. Albanian police also improved their investigative and operational capabilities. In April 2003, the National Police conducted a three-day, cross-country sweep targeting traffickers, and the Organized Crime Unit, working with Italian police, disabled a sophisticated child-trafficking network, arresting high-ranking local customs and law enforcement officials.

Protection
Through its nation-wide anti-trafficking units, police refer victims to victim assistance and protection centers throughout Albania, including the Linza shelter, which the government opened in March 2003. The centers provide reintegration and education for domestic victims and repatriation for foreign victims. Phase two of the National Action Plan mandates creation of a witness protection program that currently is lacking. In the absence of a witness protection system, the government has taken limited measures to protect witnesses, mostly ad hoc and relying on NGOs and foreign governments. With funding by IOM, six police commissariats opened temporary witness protection shelters in 2003. The government hosted the Third Regional Ministerial Forum that produced a regional government declaration on the legalization of victims’ status in destination countries.

ANGOLA (Tier 2)

Angola is a country of origin for persons trafficked primarily to Europe and South Africa for labor and sexual exploitation. Angola also has an internal trafficking problem, fueled by the large numbers of displaced persons, orphans, and former combatants and trafficking victims of the country’s civil war, which ended in the April 2002 cease fire.
During the civil war, thousands of men, women, and children were abducted by the UNITA rebel movement for use as forced laborers and as sex slaves and combatants.

The Government of Angola does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints. The government needs to step up efforts aimed at preventing the country’s growing numbers of street children from becoming trafficking victims and enhance law enforcement efforts, especially prosecutions and arrests.

Prevention
Over the past year, the Ministry of Social Reinsertion, in its efforts to resettle displaced persons and rehabilitate victims, trained 1,070 child monitors who identified approximately 43,000 children who had been separated from their families. With several international organizations and NGOs, the government set in motion its national plan of action against commercial sexual exploitation of children. The government also works with various international organizations to raise school attendance and to publicize the plight of the estimated 24,000 children living in the streets.

Prosecution
There are no specific laws that prohibit trafficking in persons. Angola’s 1992 constitution bans slavery, and would be the basic statute to prosecute trafficking cases. Laws against kidnapping, rape, assault, and prostitution also could be applied in a trafficking case. We have no information on prosecutions.

Protection
The government is resettling previously abducted Angolan citizens and reuniting displaced persons with their families. It has launched a campaign to register and identify about five million minors; as of November 2002, more than 1.5 million had been registered. The government does not treat trafficking victims as criminals. They are entitled to emergency residence status for humanitarian reasons and receive some services from a handful of government programs. The government operates orphanages throughout the country for abducted children.

ARMENIA (Tier 2)

Armenia is a country of origin for international trafficking of girls and women for the purposes of prostitution, to destination countries such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Additional suspected destinations are Germany, Greece, the United States and various Western European countries. Experts are concerned by trafficking from orphanages and by individual families who allegedly press their daughters to sell themselves into prostitution.

The Government of Armenia does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government increased its focus on trafficking as a domestic and international issue, and focused more law enforcement resources on the problem. Protection remains weak.

Prevention
In the past year, the Armenian government acknowledged trafficking and the need for increased action. A new inter-agency task force coordinated public awareness efforts throughout the country, including pamphlet distribution at the borders. The government’s Refugee and Migration Service included information on trafficking in an edition of its journal on legal migration and houses an IOM-funded Migration Service Point with a hotline, allowing people to call in or come in to ask about migration issues, including trafficking. The Office advertises the hotline in newspapers.

Prosecution
In April 2003, Armenia amended its criminal code to include a specific criminal prohibition against trafficking for sexual exploitation. Before then, traffickers could be prosecuted under such articles as illicit seizure, falsification and selling of personal documents, extortion, bogus marriages and divorces, and coercion into sexual intercourse. The government instituted anti-corruption efforts in the Customs Committee and upgraded the technology at the borders to combat trafficking. In 2002, 26 criminal cases were brought against pimps, including four charges against traffickers involved in organizing illegal border crossings with false documents; these four suspects reside in the UAE. The government is currently investigating several other suspected traffickers, three of whom trafficked women to the UAE. The government cooperates with the UAE in the above investigations, and cooperated with the Government of Germany regarding a criminal gang trafficking women from NIS Countries to Germany
. Long-term sentences were secured against defendants in both countries. The government has mutual legal assistance agreements with the UAE, other countries of the former Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Romania. An investigation from 2001 against two police officers asserting control over a group of traffickers was completed in the past year and the suspects are in detention.

Protection
No shelters or other reintegration services exist for victims and many police still do not recognize trafficking victims as such. Preliminary steps toward protection measures began, such as establishment of an anti-trafficking sub-commission of the National Commission on Women’s Issues focusing on social, rehabilitative and health issues of trafficking victims, but the government does not have any effective witness protection program. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not have specific training programs for its staff, but it directed its consular officers in 2002 to follow any reported trafficking cases and report them to the MFA. In 2002, some victims reported to Armenia’s consulate in Abu Dhabi, and the government took limited steps to assist them in returning.

AUSTRIA (Tier 1)

Austria is a transit and destination country primarily for trafficking of women from Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and countries of the former Soviet Union for the purposes of prostitution. The final destinations for most women transiting through Austria are other EU countries, especially Italy. Police noted increased trafficking of Romanian boys and Bulgarian girls to engage in begging, stealing, and possible sexual exploitation. The Government of Austria fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government was particularly strong with respect to law enforcement and victim protection through referral to government-supported shelters.

Prevention
The government worked actively with international organizations and regional organizations (EU, Interpol, OSCE, and UN) to carry out preventive programs throughout the region. The government provides annual funding to Austria’s primary NGO dealing with trafficking issues, for prevention programs. The government is funding IOM projects to conduct research and awareness campaigns on trafficking in Slovakia.

Prosecution
Several articles in the criminal and alien codes specifically prohibit trafficking. However, articles prohibiting facilitation of illegal entry and exploitation of aliens are more often used to prosecute traffickers. Penalties for trafficking in persons are commensurate with other grave crimes, with trafficking crimes involving death and extreme violence receiving more severe penalties. In 2002, over 2,000 charges were filed under the two main anti-trafficking and anti-smuggling criminal articles. Most recent conviction statistics, from 2001, indicate over 500 persons were sentenced under various anti-trafficking and anti-smuggling articles. Local and national level governments cooperate with authorities from other countries to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases. The government cooperated with Eastern European countries in particular to dismantle a number of trafficking rings. The Interior Ministry’s Federal Bureau of Criminal Affairs has a division dedicated solely to combating human trafficking and smuggling. The government supports and funds NGO and government sensitivity training for police and other public authorities both inside Austria and in other countries. In December 2002 the government held a training seminar for police officers of Stability Pact countries.

Protection
The government funds efforts of an NGO to provide direct services to trafficking victims, including shelter, legal assistance, health and medical services. That NGO also assists victims transiting through Vienna during repatriations from other destination countries. Victims outside of Vienna have access to government-funded services, including women’s shelters located in each province. The Austrian government provides temporary resident status for trafficked victims. Officials may also issue a delay in repatriation proceedings pending completion of a court case. Victims of trafficking also have the possibility of continued residence.

BAHRAIN (Tier 2)

Bahrain is a destination country for trafficked persons in search of work who are put into situations of coerced labor, where they endure physical abuse or other extreme working conditions. Victims come primarily from the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, and Sri Lanka to work as domestic servants and in the construction industry. Female domestic servants also may be sexually or physically abused. Many low-skilled foreign workers in Bahrain have their passports withheld, their contracts altered, and suffer non-payment of salaries of varying degree and duration.

The Government of Bahrain does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government has made great progress in the areas of prevention and prosecution, but it should expand services provided to victims, and needs to continue to expand prosecution efforts.

Prevention
A newly created interministerial task force drafted and distributed a manual on the rights and duties of expatriate workers in Bahrain to local embassies, Bahraini embassies abroad, and manpower recruitment agencies in Bahrain. It also drafted a simpler brochure for distribution to workers in their languages. A media campaign raised awareness nationwide about the manual and brochures. In order to certify that employers need the number of foreign workers for whom they are requesting visas and to inspect working conditions, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs increased the number of labor inspectors from 9 to 40. The government reformed work sponsorship rules to allow foreign workers to change sponsors or jobs without a “no objection” letter from their current sponsor. This allows foreign workers to legally remove themselves from potentially abusive situations.

Prosecution
The Penal Code outlaws forced labor and prostitution. Bahraini law enforcement actively investigates allegations of abuse. In addition to criminal remedies, through administrative measure and mediation under labor laws, the government allows and assists domestic servants and foreign workers to seek redress against traffickers. There are no indications that government officials condone or facilitate trafficking.

Protection
The government does not regularly provide assistance to victims but does provide shelter in extreme cases. There is no established system for providing legal or psychological services, but emergency medical treatment is available to anyone in Bahrain. In cases where mediation does not succeed, government officials assist workers in finding lawyers to pursue legal action. The government often allows temporary residency during disputes and permits a foreigner to work while he or she seeks settlement or legal redress.

BANGLADESH (Tier 2)

Bangladesh is a country of origin and transit for women and children trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and bonded labor. Women and girls are trafficked to India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic work. A small number of women and girls are transited through Bangladesh from Burma to India. Boys are also trafficked to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and forced to work as camel jockeys and beggars. Internal trafficking of women and children from rural areas to the larger cities for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic work also occurs.

The Government of Bangladesh does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints. Bangladesh needs to curb corruption among law enforcement officials, better monitor its borders, increase prosecutions of traffickers, and invest in more protection programs such as increasing the shelter capacity for victims.

Prevention
Under its National Plan of Action, which is a comprehensive plan to combat child sexual exploitation, the government supported awareness raising and community mobilization efforts in educating the community about trafficking. Other activities include police sensitization efforts, working with school populations to educate them about the problem, and improving laws. Government officials actively participated in donor-funded workshops, meetings and public awareness campaigns. The public awareness campaigns focused on showing the most vulnerable populations the harmful affects of trafficking and how the community can help in the reintegration and acceptance of victims. These campaigns were made through the radio, printed material, and speeches. The Ministry of Women’s and Children’s Affairs, the Ministry of Information, NGOs, and international organizations sponsored a month-long “Road March and Campaign Against Human Trafficking, Violence Against Women and Acid Throwing,” making stops in 18 districts, educating the community about various forms of abuse against women including trafficking. The government supports “food for education” programs to encourage parents to send their children to school and provides stipends to girls attending secondary schools in rural areas. The government has initiated an anti-exploitation public information campaign for citizens going abroad to work.

Prosecution
The country prohibits various forms of trafficking. The government does investigate trafficking cases; however, the court system is backlogged by approximately one million cases, severely hampering the ability to bring criminal cases to closure quickly. The government has arrested and prosecuted some traffickers, and courts have handed down tough sentences. During the year, the government arrested 60 alleged traffickers and convicted 30, an increase from four last year. For those convicted, the sentences ranged from 20 years to life. Police and government officials received specialized training from international organizations and NGOs in investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases. The anti-trafficking program office under the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, established in 2000, has developed relationships with both donors and NGOs and has helped in the prosecution of cases over the past year. However, corruption is widespread at lower levels of the government; police, customs, immigration officials and border guards reportedly are susceptible to bribery. If caught, prosecuted and convicted, corrupt officials may receive a reprimand, but their employment is rarely terminated.

Protection
Victims are not detained, jailed, or prosecuted for violations of immigration or prostitution laws. The government works closely with and refers victims to NGOs that provide shelter and access to legal, medical and psychological services. The government provided specialized training to its officials in assisting victims but has yet to provide training on protection and assistance to its embassies and consulates in foreign countries that are destination or transit countries for its citizens.

BELARUS (Tier 2)

Belarus is a country of origin and transit for women and children trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation in Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Germany, Israel, Poland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, and Serbia and Montenegro. Victims are trafficked mostly from more economically depressed areas, where traffickers recruit through employment, marriage, and travel agencies and have links to organized crime and narcotics trafficking.

The Government of Belarus does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government showed increased action with respect to prevention and prosecution efforts, even in light of limited resources. Commitment to protection of victims, however, remains very weak.

Prevention
The government better acknowledges the trafficking problem, but resources and expertise are inadequate and hinder successful prevention efforts. The government expanded outreach in the regions and cooperates with NGOs in giving educational presentations at schools. The government implemented a state program to combat trafficking in persons and prostitution, which outlines a 5-year strategy to focus on prevention and other vital areas of response. The government sponsors a modest TV ad campaign on state television for young women to prepare against the dangers of trafficking through pre-departure information and contingency plans in the event of dangerous situations. The state passport offices in Belarus display informational leaflets, created by NGOs, advertising hotline numbers to call for travel advice.

Prosecution
Belarus’ criminal code includes specific penalties for trafficking for the purposes of sexual or other kinds of exploitation, but the government continues to group trafficking crimes with sexual assault or rape. Investigations are hampered by lack of expertise, but improved due to training by the NGO community and foreign governments. The Interior Ministry opened 90 cases of trafficking women abroad for prostitution and 20 cases of recruitment for sexual exploitation and abduction of minors. A total of 35 defendants reportedly were convicted for trafficking in persons. Belarusian police participated with German police in a criminal investigation involving the trafficking of more than 160 Belarusian women and terminated the operations of 10 organized criminal groups operating in Belarus. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare works to regulate and monitor newspaper ads to ensure each entity is licensed. Belarus has law enforcement agreements with Turkey, Israel, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Vietnam, and China, which include a focus on human trafficking. Official corruption, including bribery of law enforcement and border officials, continues to be widespread; and some corrupt government officials reportedly facilitate trafficking by turning a blind eye to traffickers.

Protection
The Government of Belarus provides limited assistance to returning victims through state clinics and labor and welfare offices. The lack of trafficking-specific expertise prevents most victims from receiving comprehensive care. Victims deported from destination countries for visa violations return to verbal harassment by police who treat them as criminals. The Criminal Code outlines procedures for victim statements and confidentiality, and authorizes police protection; however, there are no secure shelters or police escorts. There is no information regarding government assistance for foreign victims in Belarus.

BELGIUM (Tier 1)

Belgium is a destination and transit country for trafficked persons, primarily young women from Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia, destined for Belgium’s larger cities or other European countries, for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Chinese victims are often young men destined for manual labor in restaurants and sweatshops.

The Government of Belgium fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government showed particularly strong efforts with respect to international law enforcement cooperation and preventive campaigns in source countries.

Prevention
The government’s interdepartmental committee coordinates anti-trafficking efforts in Belgium’s three distinct regions, as well as with its counterparts in France, the Netherlands, UK, Germany and Luxembourg. The government supports information campaigns in countries of origin, such as Russia, to warn young people of the dangers of trafficking. The government works closely with local and national NGOs and international organizations in the fight against trafficking. The government posts anti-trafficking liaison officers in Belgian embassies in several source countries, including Albania, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.

Prosecution
Belgium has a broad anti-trafficking law and punishment for trafficking is commensurate with other grave crimes, with particularly severe penalties for trafficking children. The government arrested 80 people in 2002 for trafficking crimes, and 71 investigations are pending. Trafficking-related sentences average from two to six years imprisonment with a range of fines; however, trafficking convictions are less frequent than prostitution-related convictions and observers note that cases involving illegal sweatshops which may relate to trafficking are rarely pursued. Belgium’s Office of the Federal Prosecutor coordinates investigations and prosecutions of traffickers and a special unit of the Federal Police is responsible for anti-trafficking enforcement. The government appointed special anti-trafficking magistrates on the national and district levels, and the Center For Equal Opportunity and the Fight Against Racism provides specialized training to police officers and prosecutors involved in anti-trafficking activities.

Protection
Three regional centers, funded by the Belgian government and managed by NGOs, provide victim assistance. Trafficking victims who agree to testify against traffickers may obtain temporary residence and work permits. At the conclusion of a trial, victims who cooperate with the investigation may be granted permanent residence status and unrestricted work permits. The government also provides financial assistance to facilitate the repatriation of victims who wish to return home. Some shelter managers claim that witness protection remains inadequate due to lack of sufficient resources.

BELIZE (Tier 3)

Belize is a destination country for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Victims are mainly women and girls from Central American countries lured by traffickers into prostitution and nude dancing. Young Belizean women and girls also are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation. There are reports of labor trafficking among the migrant agricultural worker community.

The Government of Belize does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Trafficking is not acknowledged as a serious problem, nor publicly discussed by senior officials of the government and members of law enforcement agencies.

Prevention
The government does not implement any direct anti-trafficking prevention efforts. In the context of general public welfare, the government does support some activities that contribute to wider social development. For example, the Ministry of Human Development, Women and Children and Civil Society has a number of programs designed to advance the rights and well being of women and children. Belize has high participation rates for primary education and high literacy rates for both men and women.

Prosecution
In 1997, the government amended its Immigration Act to criminalize the offense of trafficking in illegal immigrants. There are no laws that specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, although general immigration laws could be applied to illegal trafficking entry into Belize. The government has not prosecuted any traffickers, nor has it investigated any trafficking cases. The government does not adequately control its borders, nor does it monitor immigration and emigration patterns to find evidence of trafficking. The constitution prohibits slavery and forced labor, and there are statutes outlawing activities surrounding procuring and prostitution, but these laws are rarely enforced.

Protection
The government does not assist victims of trafficking, although two NGOs operate shelters for women. Foreign trafficking victims are generally treated as immigration violators and are deported, fined, or jailed.

BENIN (Tier 1)

Benin is a source, transit, and destination country for children trafficked for domestic and commercial labor. Beninese children are trafficked to Ghana, Gabon, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, and Cameroon, while children from neighboring Niger, Togo, and Burkina Faso are trafficked to Benin. Trafficking in persons also occurs within Benin, where the traditional practice of placing poor rural children with wealthier urban households is increasingly corrupted, and many children end up in situations of forced labor. To a lesser extent, Benin is a source country for women trafficked to Europe and the Middle East for sexual exploitation.

The Government of Benin fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons despite severe resource constraints. Streamlining the prosecution process for traffickers will further improve the government’s anti-trafficking process.

Prevention
Government-supported grassroots anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns have been ongoing since the early 1990s, reaching rural villages with speakers, posters, films, radio messages, and presentations by children. A 2-week anti-child labor campaign for unions and a series of meetings with transporters, taxi drivers and motorcycle operators on trafficking were conducted in 2002. The government established and supports local, volunteer vigilance committees to act as watchdogs in high-risk areas for trafficking. Free primary education for girls, rural economic diversification, micro-credit programs, and employment opportunities in road construction are key prevention programs. In September 2002, a leading labor union organized a 2-week “sensitization campaign” against child labor. Benin is one of the West African countries participating in an international program to reduce trafficking in children and a regional plan of action to combat trafficking in persons.

Prosecution
Benin does not prohibit trafficking in persons, although anti-trafficking legislation is in the legislative process. The government actively investigates trafficking cases. In 2002, 27 traffickers were arrested, and 102 children were rescued. From January to April 2003, the government arrested five traffickers and rescued 48 children. The government works closely with nearby countries, particularly Nigeria, Togo, and Gabon, to intercept children being trafficked across borders.

Protection
The government cooperates closely with NGOs to provide shelter, medical care, and legal assistance to trafficking victims. It has provided in-kind assistance to NGOs. The government and NGOs trained local leaders, truck drivers and dock workers on trafficking during 2002. Trafficked children are not arrested, but treated as victims.

BOLIVIA (Tier 2)

Bolivia is a source country for trafficking in men, women and children for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Bolivians are trafficked to Chile, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Spain. Faced with extreme poverty, many Bolivians are economic migrants, and some are victimized by traffickers as they move from rural areas to cities and then abroad. In particular, Bolivian children are trafficked internally, often exploited in slave-like labor conditions in mines, in domestic servitude, and in agriculture. Because of its weak controls along its extensive five borders, Bolivia is also a transit country for third country illegal migrants, some of who may be trafficked.

The Government of Bolivia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite limited resources. Some officials are aware that trafficking occurs, and the Government of Bolivia has taken modest steps within its limited capacity to address the problem despite political unrest that has hindered its effectiveness. Expanded measures by the government to lessen the vulnerability of children to trafficking and the continued removal of officials who are suspected of facilitating the illegal movement of persons will help strengthen Bolivia’s anti-trafficking efforts.

Prevention
The government does not promote educational measures that address trafficking, but there is an ombudsman who conducts informational campaigns on the rights of children and women. The government has an interagency committee to address the trafficking of adolescents, but it has yet to produce a plan of action, although Congress is considering legislation. The government, in conjunction with UNICEF, has begun a program to provide free birth and identity documents to thousands of undocumented citizens, a measure that should reduce their vulnerability to being trafficked.

Prosecution
There is a law prohibiting trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, and some arrests have been carried out under this statute; however, there is no information available on convictions of traffickers. Corruption of public officials is a serious problem. The government removed a number of immigration officials on suspicions of corruption, but further government action will be necessary to curb this practice. Officials throughout the government are known to take bribes to facilitate smuggling and the illegal movement of people. The government has taken measures to reduce corruption among judicial officials who authorize the travel of children; this is a positive step.

Protection
The government and international donors have programs designed to empower women economically and help keep children in school. The government recognizes that ongoing child labor problems may include trafficking abuses and is seeking foreign donors to help finance a national 10-year plan to eliminate child labor, but the plan so far has received little funding. The government provides no shelters for victims.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (Tier 3)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a destination and transit country for women and girls trafficked into sexual exploitation, mostly from Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine, and to a lesser extent, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Serbia and Montenegro. Although the presence of international civilian and military personnel has contributed to the trafficking problem in BiH, the local population actively sustains it. Trafficking in persons is a subset of the organized crime problem in BiH and the region.

The Government of BiH does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. While it has taken steps to address structural and legislative weaknesses, corruption at the local level was the major factor limiting the effect of these positive initiatives and requiring a Tier 3 ranking. Reports continued throughout the reporting period that government officials facilitated, condoned or were otherwise complicit in trafficking at the local level. The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina's capacity to combat trafficking is hampered by weak state-level authorities and institutions created by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the 1992-95 Bosnia war. The international community continues to play an extraordinary role in Bosnia, most notably through the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) and the Office of the High Representative (OHR), which respectively oversee military and civilian implementation of the Dayton Accords. Government expenditures remain dependent on international assistance and are increasingly unsustainable, with spending on new programs constrained by IMF and World Bank limitations. Despite this, the government made some progress to better cooperation between government agencies and NGOs regarding victim protection, enhance anti-trafficking laws and regulations, and provide leadership by the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees (MHRR). A comprehensive effort to strengthen the rule of law through judicial and criminal legislative reform is underway; however, anti-trafficking efforts were neither systematic nor comprehensive, with poor coordination among agencies.

Prevention
A new State Commission was established to implement the 2001 National Action Plan, but did not report significant progress. Border monitoring improved as the State Border Service (SBS) took control of all major border crossings and installed a data network at all airports. Illegal immigration through Sarajevo International Airport decreased by nearly 90%. Although the government did not train border guards on human trafficking prevention and identification, in some cases NGOs stepped in to do so. New labor regulations require the MHRR to review all applications for work permits and reject those suspected to be related to trafficking. International organizations instituted preventive codes of conduct for their personnel, but reports of internationals contributing to trafficking continued. The Federation Interior Ministry issued a directive forbidding Federation police officers from visiting nightclubs linked to prostitution. No information is available on compliance with or enforcement of this directive.

Prosecution
A new criminal code came into effect in March 2003 specifically criminalizing human trafficking, including provisions for witness protection, special investigative methods and asset forfeiture. Trafficking offenses were previously prosecuted under related criminal prohibitions. Until its mandate expired December 31, 2002, the UN International Police Task Force’s (IPTF) anti-trafficking “STOP” unit led the majority of Bosnian police actions against human traffickers. However, IPTF efforts were hampered by corrupt local police and government officials who often tipped-off suspects. The Federation Interior Ministry took disciplinary action against some corrupt police officers, resulting in administrative sanctions, some dismissals and one case of criminal prosecution. The Federation has an anti-trafficking unit that coordinates intelligence-gathering and investigations within each canton, and brings information to a state-level interagency "Strike Force" is in charge of coordinating high-level operations against traffickers. The Strike Force made progress in uncovering local trafficking networks. The Republika Srpska designated personnel for investigating trafficking in all ten police district headquarters. Bosnian law enforcement personnel participate in several regional cooperative initiatives, including one specifically devoted to counter-trafficking. UN officials in STOP reported a higher conviction rate than in past years, but courts still impose relatively minor penalties. In the Republika Srpska, 5 of the 12 defendants convicted for trafficking are serving prison time. In the Federation, 4 of the 41 persons convicted of promoting prostitution received a sentence greater than 2 years. Out of 5 cases in Brcko, 4 defendants received sentences for less than six months. The new criminal code, which entered into force in March 2003, increases the penalties that are available to BiH authorities for punishing trafficking-related offenses.

Protection
The government does not have an institutionalized system to prevent deportation of victims or to assist them formally, although efforts are underway to amend relevant laws. In the meantime, the Government issued a temporary instruction which stipulates that victims should not be charged with crimes nor subject to deportation. Victim protection efforts are hampered by corrupt local police who frequent brothels and consort with traffickers. At the state level, the Government developed a joint initiative on shelters with IOM, through which both sides signed a protocol to set up a central unit to establish and coordinate the network. The central office has not been established yet. The Government developed instructions for police and victim assistance agencies on the proper treatment of trafficking victims. Federation police provide 24-hour police protection to both IOM shelters in Sarajevo.

BRAZIL (Tier 2)

Brazil is a major source country for women and children trafficked into prostitution primarily in Europe, but also in Japan and some border countries. There is a significant internal problem with trafficking of men and children into forced labor in agriculture, mines, and charcoal production facilities. A small percentage of tourists to Brazil, primarily from Europe and the United States, go in search of sex with children, some of whom are trafficked.

The Government of Brazil does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government has made notable efforts to free slaves and fight sex tourism. Since his inauguration in January 2003, President Lula issued two important executive orders: a government-wide initiative to combat sexual exploitation of minors, and a proposal for tougher punishments of those who use forced labor. These efforts are a good first step toward needed improvements on enforcement.

Prevention
The Ministry of Tourism ran an international public awareness campaign to combat sex tourism, which included pamphlet placement on flights into Brazil that explained the country’s laws against sexual exploitation of minors to every traveler that gets a visa, and public service announcements in Brazil. The National Human Rights Secretariat conducted a national campaign against sexual exploitation of children. The government coordinates with NGOs and the private sector to combat forced labor through the Executive Group to Reduce Forced Labor (GERTRAF).

Prosecution
Brazil does not have a comprehensive trafficking law, but has a collection of laws that may be used to prosecute some traffickers. The Federal Police, which has primary responsibility for investigating international sex trafficking crimes, managed to make about 100 arrests last year even though it is understaffed and underfunded. However, weak efforts at prosecution yielded only a few convictions. Mobile inspection units from the Ministry of Labor and Employment freed more than 1,740 laborers from forced work camps, but there were few, if any, criminal proceedings.

Protection
Brazil has a variety of assistance programs, but most are underfunded. The most extensive is the Sentinel Program, which counts more than 400 centers to assist child and adolescent victims of sexual abuse. The National Coordinator’s Office to Combat Sex Trafficking under the Ministry of Justice is foundering and so far has done little to coordinate governmental efforts or marshal sufficient resources. Seven regional reference centers for victims of sex trafficking throughout the country are staffed with dedicated professional psychologists, social workers, medical doctors, lawyers, and police liaisons. But they are unpaid volunteers operating with little or no budgets. The government works with NGOs to provide assistance to victims and operate the small scale witness protection program. Government officials who may come in contact with victims, both domestically and abroad, receive training on how to best protect and assist.

BRUNEI (Tier 2)

Brunei is a destination country for persons trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Most trafficking occurs in the labor context, as foreign workers are recruited from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh for work in the garment industries, agriculture and in homes as servants. There are also a small number of cases of trafficking in women for purposes of sexual exploitation.

The Government of Brunei does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government should be more aggressive in investigating trafficking of foreigners and, in particular, should increase measures to sanction foreign labor traffickers within its borders. The government also needs to foster basic understanding of trafficking among operational-level officials and implement uniform policies in prevention, protection and prosecution.

Prevention
While there is awareness among senior officials of the criminal aspects of labor and prostitution trafficking, there is little understanding of these issues at the operational and enforcement level of government. There are no awareness programs to educate the public or specific training for government officials on trafficking. In broad preventive measures not specific to trafficking, the government provides a wide range of social and educational services to Brunei citizens, which reduces their vulnerability to trafficking.

Prosecution
Brunei has immigration, labor, and religious regulations that should deter most trafficking, but they are unevenly implemented. A specific statute outlaws sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls, and there is also a wide range of other laws, mostly related to prostitution and the protection of minors, which could be applied against sex traffickers. However, authorities only rarely investigate and prosecute sex traffickers, particularly when the victims are foreigners. Sanctions against labor traffickers are rarely invoked. Currently government mediation is most commonly used to resolve labor disputes, including those involving severe forms of trafficking, although abusive employers may also face criminal and civil penalties. The government rigorously monitors its borders and migration patterns.

Protection
The government has a weak record in protecting foreign trafficking victims, whom it often prosecutes or deports for violations of immigration and labor codes. There are government protective measures for foreign workers, although they are not uniformly carried out. They include arrival briefings for workers, inspections of facilities, and a telephone hotline for worker complaints. When a grievance cannot be resolved, repatriation of foreign workers is at the expense of the employer, and all outstanding wages must be paid. The government provides funds for shelters that service only Brunei citizens and residents, who are rarely the victims of trafficking. No foreign NGOs exist in Brunei and NGOs that do exist are not oriented towards assisting foreigners. Some embassies provide protection services, including temporary shelter, for workers involved in disputes with employers.

BULGARIA (Tier 2)

Bulgaria is a source and transit country, and to a lesser but increasing extent, a destination country for the purposes of trafficking in women and girls for sexual exploitation. Bulgarian victims are trafficked to fifteen countries across Western, Southern and Eastern Europe, as well as to South Africa. Women and girls of the Roma minority are disproportionately represented among Bulgarian-origin victims. Victims are trafficked to Bulgaria from Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Russia and the Caucasus countries. Traffickers use threats of or actual violence, false imprisonment, rape, and withholding of documents and earnings to ensure victim compliance. Risk factors for Bulgarian victims of trafficking include poverty, under-education and lack of employment, particularly among the Roma. The Government of Bulgaria does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The GOB passed anti-trafficking legislation in the past year, and showed some improvements in international law enforcement cooperation. However, overall improvements from the previous year were limited.

Prevention
While the government did not fund prevention programs, it instituted a specialized module on trafficking prevention in the Schools’ Liaison Program of the National Police and members of the government’s Interagency Task Force on Trafficking participated in training activities organized by foreign governments and international organizations. The government conducted some initiatives to improve education and job opportunities for the Roma – a particularly vulnerable group. While not trafficking-specific, such initiatives could prevent further vulnerability.

Prosecution
Parliament recently passed amendments to the Criminal Code penalizing trafficking in persons and prescribing penalties from one to 10 years in prison, plus fines. The government Task Force on Trafficking arrested approximately 40 individuals, freed over 200 women and girls, but there were no reports of any convictions as the government has no mechanism for collecting conviction data once a case is passed to the prosecutor. Additionally, because of Bulgaria’s weak judicial system and cumbersome criminal procedure code, trafficking cases were not successfully completed. The government cooperates with other countries on trafficking and concluded bilateral agreements on law enforcement with all bordering countries except Serbia and Montenegro. The government conducted joint operations with The Netherlands, Czech Republic, France, Germany and Italy, it has on-going cooperation with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Romania, and participates in regional law enforcement initiatives such as the Southeastern Cooperative Initiative (SECI). The government does not yet offer specialized investigative anti-trafficking training, though some NGOs offered training at the National Police Academy. Two regional prosecutors work with the Interagency Task Force on Trafficking. Low wages, inadequate resources and government corruption at many levels are significant obstacles. Methods for investigating corruption or misconduct in the police ranks are ineffective.

Protection
The Interagency Task Force on Trafficking works closely with international and non-governmental organizations when victims are rescued, but the government provides no victim assistance. Victims are not provided temporary or permanent residence status, or relief from deportation. Victims are not jailed or prosecuted for prostitution or individual immigration law violations. However, they are deported if they do not cooperate with the police or refuse voluntary NGO-assisted repatriation. The government has a law on implementation of witness protection, but it is rarely used and few in law enforcement know of the law’s existence. Victim restitution programs do not exist and given the relative inefficiency of the judicial system, civil lawsuits are not considered an effective recourse. The government is expanding the number of Bulgarian liaison officers in Western Europe, but there is no specialized anti-trafficking training for consular officers abroad.

BURKINA FASO (Tier 2)

Burkina Faso is a source, transit, and destination country for children trafficked for forced labor within West Africa and, to a much lesser extent, a source and transit country for women trafficked to Europe for sexual exploitation. There are traditional regional patterns of poverty-driven mass migration of children for work in the mining, crafts, and agricultural sectors and as domestics. Intermediaries often take advantage of these patterns to trick parents into selling their children, who are then subjected to harsh labor conditions and sometimes abuse. Instability in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire is changing migration patterns, but the degree and direction of those changes are unclear as of now.

The Government of Burkina Faso does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints. The government should impose stiffer penalties on traffickers and take steps to curb corruption among border officials.

Prevention
In 2002 the government’s national task force established rural vigilance and surveillance committees in five regions. In conjunction with NGOs, the government continues to support public awareness campaigns, holding training seminars for soldiers and customs agents on trafficking in persons. The government allots one quarter of its budget to education, and makes a particular effort to educate girls. Burkina Faso is one of the West African countries participating in an international program to reduce trafficking in children and a regional action plan to combat trafficking.

Prosecution
Burkina Faso currently has no law against trafficking. An anti-child-trafficking bill is before the National Assembly and was developed in cooperation with international organizations and NGOs. Labor laws and laws against slavery, kidnapping, and violence against children are used to prosecute traffickers. In 2002, two traffickers from Benin were convicted using the kidnapping laws, and sentenced to six months in prison. The government has worked with Cote d’Ivoire on 30 trafficking cases. In 2001, according to the most currently available statistics, the government investigated 23 cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children. It trained border control personnel on trafficking issues and negotiated cross-border agreements with neighboring countries, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, and Niger, to combat trans-border trafficking through tighter documentation of minors.

Protection
The Ministry of Social Action and Solidarity assists regularly in the repatriation and re-integration of victims, and maintains two shelters and five transit centers for trafficking victims, mainly children, with staff trained to identify trafficking situations and assist victims. In conjunction with an international organization, the government’s shelters assisted 299 children in 2002. In January 2003, the government established a project to provide trafficked children and their parents with micro-credit loans and apprenticeships.

BURMA (Tier 3)

Burma is a source country for persons trafficked for labor and sexual exploitation. Although the government has taken steps to combat trafficking for sexual exploitation, significant use of internal forced labor continues, especially by the military. Burmese are trafficked mainly to Thailand, but also to China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Japan for sexual exploitation, as well as domestic and factory work. Internally, trafficking of women and girls for prostitution occurs from villages to urban centers and other areas, such as trucking crossroads, fishing villages, border towns, and mining and military camps.

The Government of Burma does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The military is directly involved in forced labor trafficking. The ILO’s attempts to work with the government to address forced labor abuses have had only limited success. Burma’s failure to make progress on forced labor more than offsets the government’s improving, but still inadequate, record of combating trafficking for sexual exploitation. The government has allowed some limited but important NGO and international organization activity to educate officials and vulnerable populations, and to assist trafficking victims returning from abroad.

Prevention
Governmental measures to prevent trafficking for sexual exploitation include publicizing the dangers in border areas via government-sponsored discussion groups, distribution of printed materials, and media programming. The government has worked with the UN to educate officials and potential victims on the nature of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The results are uneven and their effectiveness is often undercut by the repressive political climate in Burma and constrained by the government’s limited financial resources. Government involvement in forced labor continues. Forced labor prevention efforts are limited to posting directives prohibiting such practices. The government has not publicly acknowledged that forced labor is a widespread problem and has rebuffed recommendations on prevention made by the ILO, which maintains an office in Rangoon.

Prosecution
Burma lacks a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, but a combination of statutes against kidnapping and prostitution is used to arrest and prosecute offenders who traffick in persons for sexual exploitation. According to official government data, Burma prosecuted about 100 such traffickers over the last year. Although information on convictions is incomplete, sentences reportedly ranged from 5 to 12 years, with most carrying a prison sentence of seven years. Corruption is a problem as some local and regional officials are suspected of turning a blind eye to trafficking. The Burmese military has generally not implemented directives prohibiting forced labor trafficking, while continuing to carry out abuses including forced portering, road construction, and military conscription (including of children). There have been no arrests or prosecutions of corrupt officials related to trafficking.

Protection
The government provides limited programming to provide women with income-generating skills and to assist returning victims of trafficking, but there is no specific budget for such activities, which are largely “self-financing.” It allows two foreign NGOs and the UN to provide some services and support for repatriation of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation. The government provides no assistance to victims trafficked for forced labor.

BURUNDI (Tier 2)

Burundi is a source and destination country for trafficking in persons, primarily children conscripted to serve as porters, cooks, and some as combatants in both government and rebel forces, many of whom were forcibly recruited. Other children join the military using false documents, and many orphans and children separated from their parents work as porters and cooks at government military camps. Rebel forces also reportedly recruit among growing numbers of street children and orphans, among Burundian refugees in camps in Tanzania, and from other neighboring countries.

The Government of Burundi does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints. The government, inaugurated in early May 2003, needs to continue its efforts to demobilize and assist child soldiers, take action against those using them, and provide protection for demobilized child soldiers.

Prevention
Government policy prohibits child combatants, but many suspected children join the military with false documents. Beginning in May 2002, the Ministry of Defense began investigating the extent of the child soldier problem, holding discussions at three army camps and among senior officers, and began a series of awareness raising seminars for senior officers in June and November 2002. In August 2002, the government conducted a survey of families to determine how many children had left to join the government or rebel forces. The Army then conducted a census of minors in the military in October 2002. As a result, the Army Chief of Staff ordered that commanders cease the use of children as combatants in January 2003. The government is working with an international organization to demobilize child soldiers and participating in another international program to prevent children, particularly street children, from becoming involved in armed conflict. The government facilitated the travel of former child soldiers to the Department of Labor conference on child soldiers.

Prosecution
Although there is no specific anti-trafficking law, forcing others into prostitution is prohibited. Bonded labor is also prohibited. The Ministry of Defense prepared a package of laws, including a new minimum age requirement for recruitment, and the government is reviewing laws to strengthen punishments for sexual exploitation of children. The new Council of Ministers is considering these reforms over the next three months. The government broke up a prostitution ring in which four persons were imprisoned.

Protection
The government established a body to demobilize and reintegrate child soldiers that includes the military, government, and non-governmental and international organizations. The government, in partnership with an international organization, is reuniting children with parents and providing alternative education. The government is releasing child soldiers who have been detained or imprisoned.

CAMBODIA (Tier 2)

Cambodia is a source and destination country for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Cambodian men, women, and children who cross into Thailand, often as illegal migrants, are forced into labor or prostitution by traffickers. Cambodian children are trafficked into Vietnam and forced to work as street beggars. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked into Cambodia for prostitution. Cambodian women and children are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation.

The Government of Cambodia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Faced with limited resources, government officials have recognized that trafficking is a major problem confronting the country and have put in place new measures – particularly in prosecution and law enforcement – to address the challenge. Much remains to be done to build upon this modest start. Government action should concentrate on removing corrupt officials linked to trafficking, ensuring that procedures to protect victims function uniformly, and expanding bilateral cooperation, particularly with Vietnam. Future government action should also include enacting an anti-trafficking law, as well as increasing the number of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers.

Prevention
The government works with a wide-reaching array of NGOs and international organizations on prevention. Both the Ministry of Women’s and Veterans’ Affairs (MOWVA) and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSALVY) have worked with NGOs and international organizations to build up community-based networks in high-risk provinces to inform potential victims of the risks of trafficking. The MOWVA carried out information campaigns, including grassroots meetings in key provinces. The Ministry of Tourism works with NGOs to produce workshops and pamphlets to combat trafficking dangers associated with sex tourism.

Prosecutions
The Government of Cambodia has no comprehensive anti-trafficking law. Law enforcement against traffickers is possible under existing statutes. The Ministry of Interior runs a hotline to gain tips on cases of child sexual exploitation. The hotline has helped officials to identify and rescue victims at risk. According to available data, there were at least 75 convictions of sexual exploiters under the Law on the Suppression of the Kidnapping, Trafficking, and Exploitation of Human Beings. The number of convictions under the law specifically related to trafficking in persons is not available, but NGOs reported at least nine criminal convictions, with six defendants receiving sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years imprisonment. Victims were also awarded financial compensation. Prosecution of traffickers was hampered, however, because the judicial system is backlogged and burdened by corrupt practices, a subject of continuing concern. While authorities have arrested public officials on charges of corruption related to trafficking, no complete information was available on these efforts. The government needs to take aggressive steps to address the involvement of public officials and their families in trafficking.

Protection
The government has procedures to assist victims but they are limited and not uniformly implemented. MOSALVY runs two temporary shelters for victims and attempts to place victims with NGOs for long-term sheltering. However, victims are at risk of being taken out of these shelters and re-trafficked. MOSALVY’s efforts are hampered by a lack of resources. Officials have pushed a much-needed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Thailand, which when implemented will regularize Cambodian repatriations. Government officials recognize the need for regularized repatriation of Vietnamese, and the MOWVA has begun discussions with Hanoi to promote an MOU.

CAMEROON (Tier 2)

Cameroon is a source, transit, and destination country for children who are trafficked for forced labor to and from neighboring countries such as Benin, Chad, Gabon, Niger, Mali, and Nigeria. A majority of the children are trafficked internally to urban centers for indentured or domestic servitude. Women are trafficked for prostitution to European countries, including France and Switzerland.

The Government of Cameroon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severely limited resources. Cameroon could step up its prevention efforts and more vigorously prosecute traffickers to conviction.

Prevention
The government’s anti-child labor action plan was finalized in 2002. The inter-agency anti-trafficking group, comprised of 10 ministerial agencies, supported public awareness raising programs throughout the year. The government provides free public education, micro-credit projects for vulnerable portions of the population such as women and young girls, and outreach to parents in rural areas at high risk for trafficking. Cameroon is part of a regional effort to reduce trafficking in children and participates in an international program to reduce the worst forms of child labor, including trafficking. This program lays out a timeline with set goals.

Prosecution
Although it has no trafficking law, Cameroon has laws prohibiting slavery and trafficking into prostitution, and the government investigates trafficking cases. The Penal Code “prohibits reducing a person to or maintaining a person in slavery, or engaging, even occasionally, in trafficking in human beings.” Forced or compulsory labor is also prohibited. Several cases are currently under investigation, and a few are in court. Penalties for trafficking include a prison sentence ranging from 15-20 years and asset forfeiture. The police plan to implement an anti-trafficking training in late 2003, and are in the process of creating a minors’ unit. Border officials are giving more scrutiny to unaccompanied minors. Cameroon is working with Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Chad, and Congo-Brazzaville to develop a sub-regional instrument to govern anti-trafficking actions on border control, extradition, and penalties. Corruption remains a problem.

Protection
The government provides temporary residence status, shelter, and medical care to trafficking victims, and works closely with NGOs, opening a home for distressed child victims in December 2002. Children are placed in public or private institutions where they receive education, medical care, and counseling assistance. Cameroon also provides in-kind assistance to NGOs working to help trafficking victims, such as tax concessions, and duty-free importation privileges.

CANADA (Tier 2)

Canada is a destination for persons trafficked into prostitution, and to a lesser extent forced labor, with victims coming primarily from China, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Russia, Korea, and Eastern Europe. Traffickers also use Canada as a transit point for moving victims from these countries to the United States.

The Government of Canada does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Canada has a broad social safety net, comprehensive legal structure, and coordinated enforcement. Implementation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which took effect in June 2002, should enhance the government’s uneven efforts to prosecute traffickers and impose tough sentences.

Prevention
Canada attempts to prevent trafficking before victims reach Canadian shores. The Canadian International Development Agency contributes anti-trafficking funds to several developing countries. Immigration officers are stationed in key source countries to identify illicit migration and stop traffickers before they depart for Canada. A new policy requiring that Canadian minors be issued their own passports, rather than being included in a parent’s passport, is intended to protect children from traffickers posing as parents.

Prosecution
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act prohibits trafficking and prescribes tough punishments for traffickers. Task forces comprised of federal, provincial, and municipal law enforcement officials have investigated illegal prostitution and smuggling rings and freed some trafficking victims, but there have been few convictions of traffickers, due in part to deportation of witnesses. Canadian and US law enforcement have excellent cooperation on migration and border control with several successes in breaking up illicit migration operations.

Protection
Provincial governments provide protection and basic services such as shelters, health care, and legal aid for all victims of violence and sexual abuse, including trafficking victims; however, there are no specific efforts to work with and rehabilitate trafficking victims. Some provinces have recently enacted legislation allowing victims to sue pimps and sex abusers for the costs of treating the victims. Foreign trafficking victims are eligible to apply for refugee status under gender-related persecution guidelines, but often they are deported.

PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (Tier 2)

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a source, transit and destination country for trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation. There is also internal trafficking of young women and girls sold as brides. Victims trafficked into the PRC originate from Thailand, Burma, Mongolia, Laos, North Korea, Vietnam and Russia; they are most often young women and girls trafficked for prostitution or sold as brides. Political prisoners in the PRC, including Tibetans, are occasionally forced to work in prison and detention facilities. Chinese are trafficked to Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, the Hong Kong or Macau Special Administrative Regions, South Korea, North America, and Europe. Many Chinese migrants who are smuggled to North America are trapped in forced labor to repay traffickers.

The Government of the People’s Republic of China does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Senior officials have expressed their determination to combat trafficking, and policies are in place to do so. Although the implementation of those policies is uneven, the PRC’s continued high-level engagement on fighting trafficking is vital to address the worldwide problem. The PRC can sharpen its effectiveness by widening its international cooperation on law enforcement. The government should continue to fight corruption along its lengthy borders.

Prevention
The PRC continued public awareness campaigns against trafficking in women and children, including warning messages about domestic bride abuses. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) announced its four-year “Elimination of Trafficking: Zero Tolerance Plan” with UNICEF targeting rural farmers via promotional awareness and educational activities. MPS drafted an anti-trafficking action plan that established a national committee to oversee its development. Other campaigns were aimed to keep children in school (“Spring Bud Plan”) and women’s empowerment (“Rural Women Know All”) through vocational training and rights awareness. The ILO-IPEC Mekong Sub-Regional Project continues to prevent trafficking through cooperation between government officials and local communities.

Prosecution
Trafficking in women is specifically outlawed in the PRC. The government recognizes trafficking as a priority law enforcement issue and has an anti-trafficking unit within the MPS. No government figures were released on prosecutions for the past year, although press releases note that there were 469 arrests of suspected human traffickers in the Fujian province alone. Inter-government cooperation and exchanges between law enforcement officials took place with Vietnam and Thailand.

Protection
PRC assistance is primarily focused on Chinese trafficking victims. Women are reintegrated into their communities through resettlement centers offering legal, medical, and psychological help. The PRC collaborated with UNICEF on three pilot “transit centers” offering victims temporary lodging, counseling, and vocational training, as well as training hundreds of MPS officers on victims’ needs.

COLOMBIA (Tier 1)

Colombia is a major source of women and girls trafficked into prostitution. Victims are primarily sent to Europe, especially Spain and The Netherlands, as well as Japan. There also is internal trafficking in Colombia for prostitution and forced conscription in terrorist and guerrilla groups, often with children as victims.

The Government of Colombia fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The widespread internal armed conflict, the existence of well-organized drug trafficking groups, and economic pressures combine to make Colombia one of the major source countries for trafficking victims in Latin America. However, despite these factors, the government continues to make serious and sustained efforts toward the elimination of trafficking in persons, both at home and abroad.

Prevention
An interagency committee coordinates a variety of anti-trafficking prevention measures, including the creation of a hotline, public awareness campaigns, and improved coordination with Interpol. Police and immigration officials, with the help of NGOs, closely monitor airports and have prevented dozens of Colombians from being trafficked by identifying would-be victims and educating them on the dangers that lay ahead.

Prosecution
In 2002, improved anti-trafficking legislation broadened the definition of trafficking and toughened the penalties – almost doubling prison sentences and raising the maximum fine by a factor of 10. Colombia is one of the leading countries engaged in international law enforcement cooperation against trafficking. Police have conducted numerous international operations in coordination with other governments, particularly Spain, The Netherlands, and Japan, which have led to the rescue of hundreds of trafficking victims and over 100 arrests. For example, in November 2002, information provided by Colombian law enforcement authorities through Colombia’s diplomatic mission in Tokyo led Japanese officials to arrest a major organized crime leader who had trafficked at least 400 Colombian women into Japan. Several Colombian collaborators in the trafficking ring were deported to Colombia, where they are under indictment and in custody. Domestically, police are proactive, attempting to break up trafficking rings before women are victimized. In the last 18 months, government authorities have arrested 44 persons on trafficking charges, indicted 30, and convicted 16. The government encourages victims to testify against traffickers, but the witness protection program is underfunded, and successful intimidation by traffickers has limited the number of successful prosecutions.

Protection
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assists Colombian victims abroad by providing basic services and facilitating repatriation. The government cooperates with a network of NGOs and IOM to provide support and assistance to victims once they return to Colombia. The government works with IOM to train diplomats and consular officials on how to assist victims. IOM also works closely with other governmental officials, training more than 500 officials last year on the implementation of the new trafficking law. 

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (Tier 2)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a source country for trafficked persons. Rebel forces and militias continue to abduct and forcibly recruit Congolese men, women, and children to serve as forced laborers, porters, combatants, and sex slaves in areas of the country under their control. Internal trafficking for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation also occurs. To a lesser extent, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a source country for women trafficked to France and Belgium on “entertainment visas” but then forced into commercial sexual exploitation to pay off debts.

The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government should increase its commitment to raising public awareness, providing better protection and assistance to victims, and step up law enforcement efforts, especially prosecutions, in areas under its control.

Prevention
The government participates in an international program to prevent children from becoming child soldiers and to combat child labor. It also conducts information campaigns on local radio and in local community meetings. Over the past year, the government held workshops to assist the reintegration of former child soldiers and other combatants into their home communities as part of its ongoing demobilization program currently enforced by the National Bureau for Demobilization and Reintegration. With NGOs, the government implements education programs for child soldiers, street children, and orphans and tries to improve educational opportunities for girls, a highly vulnerable group for trafficking. The Ministry of Family Affairs and Labor now implements its action plan against sexual exploitation in conjunction with an international organization.

Prosecution
The initial draft of the new constitution prohibits forced labor. In the meantime, the government uses statutes prohibiting slavery, forced labor, debauchery, and rape to prosecute traffickers. We have no information on prosecutions. In May 2002, the government filed a case in the International Court of Justice against Rwanda for forced conscription, abduction, and rape of Congolese citizens. The government is actively gathering testimonies from escaped abductees and former child soldiers to try war criminals.

Protection
Due to a lack of resources, the government conducts few victim protection efforts, instead relying heavily on non-governmental and international organizations. The government provides family tracing services, medical assistance, psychological rehabilitation, reintegration, and counseling for families accepting child soldiers. The government is willing to assist the repatriation of victims trafficked to Europe for commercial sexual exploitation, but no requests have been made.


COSTA RICA (Tier 2)

Costa Rica has internal trafficking and is primarily a destination country for women and children trafficked into prostitution. Costa Rica is also a source and transit country for illegal migration, which includes trafficking. Women and girls are trafficked to Costa Rica from Colombia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Panama, and to a lesser extent, Russia, Philippines, Romania and Bulgaria. The vibrant tourism industry attracts a small but growing percentage of sex tourists primarily from the United States, Canada, and Germany who prey on children.

The Government of Costa Rica does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Costa Rica has continued to improve efforts to investigate and prosecute child sex abusers. There is significant political will to fight trafficking in persons which hopefully will translate into further actions to assist victims and prevent trafficking.

Prevention
The government implemented some public awareness activities, including a radio campaign on the plight of street children who remain at high risk of being trafficked. In October 2002, the government placed stricter controls on the emigration of minors by requiring an exit document if the child was not traveling with a parent. Programs to raise school attendance and provide vocational opportunities to young women have been carried out but could be expanded.

Prosecution
The Special Prosecutor on Sex Crimes reported hundreds of investigations launched in 2002, which led to a handful of convictions. The government expanded training of police and government officials on investigation methods and appropriate treatment of victims by the United States, UNICEF and IOM. In late 2002, each of the nation’s 10 police districts established delegations of two investigators and two prosecutors to focus solely on sexual exploitation. Several anti-corruption cases are ongoing, some related to migration offenses. Increased prosecutions are expected to follow as training increases.

Protection
Most victim assistance is provided through well-established NGOs and not through the government. The Child Welfare Ministry has created various community boards to assist in the protection of children. The government should continue plans to provide shelters for child victims of sexual exploitation as well as improve basic services. Medium and long-term care for victims is appropriate and benefits judicial proceedings against traffickers.

COTE D’ IVOIRE (Tier 2)

Cote d’Ivoire is primarily a destination country for children trafficked from Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin, Togo, and Ghana for domestic and farm labor and a destination for women and girls trafficked from Nigeria, Liberia, and Asia for commercial sexual exploitation. It is also a country of origin for girls trafficked internally and to Europe and the Middle East for domestic servitude. An armed rebellion in September 2002 resulted in closure of the borders with neighboring countries, changing trafficking patterns and creating larger displaced and vulnerable populations.

The Government of Cote d’Ivoire does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severely limited resources and instability. Passage of the anti-trafficking law and implementation of stiff sentences for traffickers will enhance Cote d’Ivoire’s anti-trafficking efforts.

Prevention
The national task force to combat trafficking has high-level government support and significant resource commitment from several agencies, including 20 Ministry of Women, Family, and Children’s Affairs personnel working on child trafficking. Over the past year, the government worked closely with international organizations to regulate child labor on cocoa farms. The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture and government-supported national researchers conducted a survey on child labor to assess the scope and magnitude of the problem. The government supported public awareness campaigns focused on the exploitation of children for labor, trafficking of girls as domestics, and warning Ivorians about the dangers of private employment agencies. Cote d’Ivoire participates in an international program to eliminate the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa industry, which withdraws children from hazardous work and provides income-generating activities, economic alternatives, and education. Cote d’Ivoire also participates in a regional plan of action to combat trafficking.

Prosecution
There is no anti-trafficking law, although one is pending in the National Assembly, but the government used other statutes, such as those against kidnapping and forced labor, to prosecute traffickers. At least nine traffickers from Cote d’Ivoire and neighboring countries were arrested and 100 children rescued in 2002. In 2001, approximately 550 Malian and Burkinabe children were rescued and 29 traffickers were arrested; those convicted received sentences ranging from 5 to 10 years in prison. There is no evidence of government complicity in trafficking, but there is corruption among low-level border officials and police. Border officials deny entry to children not traveling with their parents because there is a high likelihood they are being trafficked. Anecdotal evidence suggests the Ivorian-Malian border agreement is leading to improved border controls and a decline in child trafficking. Investigators and prosecutors participated in anti-trafficking training with INTERPOL, NGOs, and neighboring countries.

Protection
The government facilitates the repatriation of trafficking victims. Rescued children are accommodated with host families and at reception centers, receiving health and psychological counseling until source country embassies can receive them.

CROATIA (Tier 2)

Croatia is primarily a transit country to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Western Europe, and to a lesser extent a source and destination country, for trafficking of women for the purposes of forced prostitution. The extent of the problem in Croatia has been difficult to establish. In the past year, more information emerged regarding trafficking routes through Croatia.

The Government of Croatia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government has shown an enhanced willingness to establish preventive mechanisms, including cooperation with non-governmental organizations and neighboring countries.

Prevention
The government created the National Commission for the Suppression of Trafficking in Persons, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. The Commission does not meet regularly, but members represent all relevant ministries, NGOs, international organizations, and the media; and it is responsible for implementing the new National Action Plan. The Head of the Government Office for Human Rights was appointed the government’s anti-trafficking coordinator. In the spring, the Commission endorsed an IOM awareness campaign, which includes free spots on Croatian National TV and 20 local radio stations nationwide. Campaign materials are concentrated in border crossings, public transport, schools and employment agencies. The government signed memoranda of understanding with two international organizations assisting victims, and continued to cooperate with regional governments through regional ministerial declarations and Stability Pact capacity-building activities. Despite limited resources, the government funded a survey to be conducted among high school students regarding awareness of human trafficking.

Prosecution
The Croatian criminal code contains a number of trafficking-related crimes, such as slavery, international prostitution and illegal human transport across a state boundary; however, there have been few convictions on trafficking-related crimes. The government forwarded to the Parliament proposed amendments to the penal code to specifically criminalize TIP. Croatia participates in the Southeastern European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) on law enforcement and is part of the regional agreement on police cooperation in suppression of illegal migration and organized crime. Croatia participated in SECI’s “Operation Mirage” which resulted in 14 arrests.

Protection
Civil society projects are underway to raise the government’s capacity to identify victims of trafficking. The government provided some assistance to a shelter for victims and cooperates with the International Organization for Migration, which is providing additional protective services. The government also assisted an NGO network to establish and operate an SOS “800” number for victims of trafficking to call for assistance. The Ministries of Interior and Labor and Social Welfare began training their officers to identify victims, leading to successful victim identification within a group of detained illegal migrants. The officers contacted IOM, which assisted the victims.

CUBA (Tier 3)

Cuba is a country of internal trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Minors are victimized in sexual exploitation connected to the state-run tourism industry. Despite occasional measures by the Government of Cuba to crack down on prostitution, state-controlled tourism establishments and independent operators facilitate and even encourage the sexual exploitation of minors by foreign tourists. Government authorities turn a blind eye to this exploitation because such activity helps to win hard currency for state-run enterprises. Opponents of the Cuban government, often arrested under the crime of “dangerousness,” are forced to carry out state-run construction and agricultural labor that profit the state. Laborers are coerced to work on foreign investment or government priority projects without adequate compensation, which is retained by the state. Children are coerced to perform agricultural work.

The Government of Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government does not acknowledge that its tourism institutions are involved in the sexual trafficking of minors; it does not acknowledge that it participates in forced labor trafficking.

Prevention
The government does not acknowledge a trafficking problem per se, but does acknowledge the existence of prostitution. The government carries out no public awareness campaigns to warn of the dangers of trafficking, but it does endorse women’s participation in economic decision-making and children staying in school.

Prosecution
The Cuban penal code makes it illegal to promote or organize the movement of persons in or out of the country for prostitution. The code outlaws pimping, and the selling of and trafficking in minors. Criminal penalties are imposed under the law, but the government makes no data available on the number of prosecutions and convictions of traffickers it has carried out. Over the years, the Cuban government has reversed its position regarding its condemnation of the prostitution that feeds sex tourism. There is no known law enforcement against traffickers who make available state-controlled public facilities for the sexual exploitation of minors.

Protection
Government assistance to trafficking victims is inadequate. Social workers and state-controlled “mass” organizations have provided some assistance to women in prostitution. Suspected prostitutes are known to be detained by the police and sent to rehabilitation or “reeducation” centers. Such centers provide legal and medical help, but have been criticized for violating the rights of the internees.

CZECH REPUBLIC (Tier 1)

The Czech Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for women trafficked from the former Soviet Union (in particular, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova), Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Asia into the Czech Republic and onward to Western Europe and the United States for prostitution. Small numbers of Czech men are trafficked to the United States for coerced labor. There is some evidence of internal trafficking of Czech women and children from areas of low unemployment near border regions with Germany and Austria. Additionally, foreign minors are believed to be exploited in the commercial sex trade either in the Czech Republic or other European countries.

The Government of the Czech Republic fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government focused its resources on all three areas, especially prioritizing regional law enforcement cooperation. Information on court convictions was uneven and lack of resources hampered some overall efforts.

Prevention
The Crime Prevention Division of the Interior Ministry implemented a national media campaign on the dangers of trafficking, as well as an informational program in Czech schools targeting 13 and 14 year-olds. The government created a National Plan for Combating Commercial Sexual Abuse, including trafficking in women and children for sexual purposes, for which the Interior Ministry has the leading role.

Prosecution
The government amended the criminal code to include a broader definition of trafficking victims, and to raise the penalty from five to 12 years for traffickers who cause grave bodily harm to their victims. In 2002, the Czech Republic investigated 19 cases under the trafficking in persons statute, yielding 14 indictments. While none of the cases was concluded during the year, eight individuals were held in pre-trial detention pending final resolution. Police recorded 139 trafficking-related arrests during 2002. The Anti-Organized Crime Police has a special unit specifically trained in human trafficking, and the Interior Ministry cooperates closely with NGOs to train police and investigators handling trafficking cases. The government cooperates with regional governments to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases. The Foreigner and Border Police work closely with their counterparts in Germany and Austria, and in June 2002, Czech authorities conducted a series of raids on suspected traffickers with counterparts in Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, and Romania. Border monitoring is relatively weaker regarding the Polish and Slovak border, but the government is using EU assistance to improve its border control.

Protection
The government refers trafficking victims to NGOs, which provide shelter and medical treatment; the government also provides partial funding for these services. The Interior Ministry funds an NGO which assists foreign victims with repatriation and Czech victims with reintegration services. Victims willing to testify against a trafficker may be offered temporary residence, a work permit, access to social assistance, and in extreme cases, police protection. The government continues to detain some possible victims, followed by removal either immediately or after a thirty-day stay of deportation.

DENMARK (Tier 1)

Denmark is both a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked from the former Soviet Union countries, Eastern Europe, and the Baltics, as well as Thailand, for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Denmark as a transit for trafficked victims from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union on their way to other European and Nordic countries may be exacerbated by implementation of the Schengen Agreement and resulting relaxation of many border controls

The Government of Denmark fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, including making serious and sustained efforts to eliminate severe forms of trafficking with regard to law enforcement, protection of victims, and prevention of trafficking. The government showed a particularly strong focus on prevention in the past year, both domestically and internationally, and on protection activities in-country, but efforts should be made to avoid immediate deportation of trafficked victims, some of which have been minors. With the passage of the new anti-trafficking legislation, it is hoped that the government will maintain vigorous law enforcement while improving its screening mechanism to prevent deporting victims in the coming year.

Prevention
The Government of Denmark established teams of fieldworkers that assessed the problem through direct contact with victims, and facilitated dialogue between public authorities and NGOs. The government earmarked nearly $1.5 million for a three-year strategy to combat human trafficking. In conjunction with the release of Denmark’s National Action Plan in 2002, the Ministries of Social Affairs and Gender Equality conducted an anti-trafficking ad campaign in all major newspapers. In addition, the Ministries of Social Affairs and Gender Equality subsidize a hotline and website.

Prosecution
New anti-trafficking legislation went into effect in late 2002 but its overall effectiveness is still uncertain, as no cases were brought to trial. Previously, Danish authorities prosecuted trafficking under other provisions of the criminal law, such as those against human smuggling. Three foreigners and five Danish nationals were convicted for smuggling prostitutes, but all the convictions were overturned on appeal. The Danish National Commissioner of Police maintains its own internal task force on trafficking in persons, assists local police constabularies with investigations and trains its officers to recognize and investigate instances of trafficking. The government monitors trafficking largely through information-sharing between the national police and immigration authorities of countries with common borders and shared concerns. The government cooperates in international investigations, exchanges information with other Scandinavian countries, and works with Europol to track trafficking victims across borders.

Protection
The Danish Aliens Act allows a 15-day legal stay for trafficking victims prior to their repatriation in order to provide services to victims and ensure their safe return. During this time, victims cannot be employed, but are provided medical assistance, counseling and safe housing. The repatriation procedure applies to persons without visas, but may be extended to victims with valid visas only. However, the government normally deports those found to be in the country illegally. This may occur at the conclusion of a trafficking cases or much sooner. In some cases minors have been immediately deported. Trafficked legal workers appear to have greater rights than trafficked women illegally present in Denmark, but the law and social policy currently favors deportation in both situations. The government has no formal witness protection program, but guarantees safe surroundings with access to professional social, medical and psychological support to those waiting to testify in court. The government also funds an NGO that provides legal services to trafficking victims. The government funds several NGO hotlines to support victims, prevent trafficking, and gather empirical data on the problem. The Ministries of Social Affairs and Gender Equality disseminate information to victims and provide confidential counseling.

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (Tier 3)

The Dominican Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Dominicans are trafficked internally, particularly poor children who work as domestics. Some of the Dominican women and girls who are smuggled to Europe, the United States and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere end up in trafficked situations. Some are trafficked to these destinations for sexual exploitation. Haitian children are trafficked into the Dominican Republic. In addition, some of the many Haitians who enter the Dominican Republic as illegal migrants become subject to trafficking abuses. Illegal migrants from a number of countries transit through the Dominican Republic; some may be trafficking victims.

The Government of the Dominican Republic does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. While the government recognizes trafficking as a problem, the effectiveness of these measures is diminished by the government’s incomplete efforts to convict traffickers and deal with public corruption. The Dominican Republic remains one of the largest victim source countries in the Western Hemisphere. In response, the government has not undertaken any notable prosecutions of traffickers. The government should enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation, which is under consideration in Congress.

Prevention
A committee of several government offices, known as CIPROM, works on prevention matters. The committee has worked with IOM to continue the distribution of printed materials that informs potential victims, particularly young women, of the dangers of trafficking. The government cooperates with the country’s leading NGO fighting trafficking to distribute printed materials and run a telephone hotline. The government has been involved in a number of seminars and public activities, including hosting an assembly of the OAS’s Inter-American Commission of Women that addressed trafficking.

Prosecution
The Dominican Republic has no comprehensive anti-trafficking statute but has used existing laws that apply to smuggling, domestic violence, and kidnapping to prosecute traffickers. Senior government officials have spoken out in general terms about the need to combat trafficking and acknowledge that trafficking is a problem, but law enforcement efforts have been lacking. Some arrests have been made, usually in the context of smuggling. However, penalties are lenient and rarely imposed, and kingpin traffickers are not prosecuted. Efforts by the government to work with victims to prosecute traffickers have been hampered by the victims’ fear of the traffickers and the government’s inability to protect victims. Several officials in the diplomatic and immigration services implicated in facilitating or even participating in trafficking activities have not faced sanctions. In the Foreign Affairs Ministry, internal procedures and practices in the context of visa issuance continue to be open to misuse.

Protection
The Secretariat of Women through CIPROM takes the lead on protection issues for the government. Working with NGOs and international organizations, the government opened a center to assist returning migrant women in 2003. IOM worked with the government to assist Dominican women trafficked to Argentina to return home. The Secretariat of Labor, working with ILO, has become more involved in protecting children at risk, a continuing area of concern.
In a positive development, the Foreign Affairs Ministry is training diplomatic personnel on trafficking issues and specifically how to assist victims overseas.

EL SALVADOR (Tier 2)

El Salvador is a source, transit and destination country for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Salvadorans are trafficked to other Central American countries, Mexico, and the United States. Nicaraguans, Hondurans and South American nationals are trafficked to or through El Salvador. Women and children are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation.

The Government of El Salvador does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite limited resources. The government recognizes that trafficking in persons is a problem. It fights trafficking by enforcing its anti-migrant smuggling law, cooperating with NGOs and attempting to enforce child labor standards.

Prevention
Government agencies and NGOs have worked together on information campaigns against trafficking. For instance, the government has sponsored television public service messages to discourage illegal migration and warn potential victims, as well as newspaper advertisements condemning the sexual exploitation of children. Labor ministry officials cooperate with the ILO to formulate policies that address the worst forms of child labor.

Prosecution
Two laws prohibit trafficking. Although there have been no arrests for trafficking per se, the authorities have prosecuted migrant smugglers who might have been involved in trafficking.

There is no evidence that the government is involved in or tolerates trafficking, and no officials have been charged for violating trafficking statutes. However, individual police officers, migration officials and politicians are under investigation in migrant smuggling cases. The anti-migrant smuggling unit is also responsible for combating trafficking. Although airport controls are adequate, the government is not able to adequately control or monitor its land and maritime borders.

Protection
The government provides legal, medical, and psychological assistance to detained illegal migrants, including those who might be trafficking victims. However, the government does not determine who among the detained might be a trafficking victim, and does not encourage foreign trafficking victims to assist in investigations. Although foreign victims are not treated as criminals, the quick deportation process prevents them from filing a civil suit or pursuing legal action against traffickers. The government funds foreign and domestic NGOs that provide services to illegal migrants who might also be trafficking victims. A government agency provides protection, counseling, and legal assistance to abused, homeless, and neglected children, including those who might also be trafficking victims. Repatriated Salvadorans, including those who may have been trafficking victims, receive government assistance. Salvadoran diplomats are provided with instructional materials to alert them to the problems of migrants; some of these migrants might also be trafficking victims.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA (Tier 2)

Equatorial Guinea is a country of destination and, to a lesser extent, transit for women and children trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Recent growth in the country’s oil industry has fueled demand for women trafficked from Benin, Cameroon, and Nigeria. Children are trafficked in from West and Central Africa and into exploitative work situations as farmhands, domestic servants, and street hawkers. Equatorial Guinea is a transit country for women being trafficked from other African countries to Europe, particularly Spain.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea does not fully meet the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking in persons; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severely limited resources. Aggressive enforcement of current statutes in the absence of anti-trafficking legislation and curbing of corruption are needed.

Prevention
The government, in conjunction with NGOs, sponsored a public-awareness campaign which reduced young girls’ vulnerability to trafficking and the flow of children trafficked from Benin to Equatorial Guinea for forced labor. The government is working with local community leaders to raise public awareness about trafficking. Equatorial Guinea actively participates in regional conferences and a regional plan of action to combat trafficking in persons. The government has identified poverty and lack of education as root causes of trafficking and has made education free and compulsory until age 14.

Prosecution
Equatorial Guinea does not have an anti-trafficking law but is in the process of drafting legislation. In 2002, the Foreign Minister issued a public announcement threatening stiff penalties for the crimes of sex trafficking and pedophilia, which drove prostitution underground. Equatorial Guinea is an island nation and borders are inadequately monitored. The law prohibits forced labor.

Protection
The government is currently constructing two shelters for trafficked and disadvantaged children, which are scheduled to open in late 2003. The government also assists abandoned children and cooperates with NGOs that provide services to victims and at-risk women and children. In 2001, the government offered to care for and repatriate trafficked children found aboard a captured boat in transit from Benin to Gabon, but ceded to an international organization to manage the repatriation. There are no reports of victims being deported or otherwise punished. In 2000, a young Beninese trafficking victim was found in Equatorial Guinea; the government allowed her to stay and aided her integration into the community.

ESTONIA (Tier 2)

Estonia is a source country for women and girls trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation both internally and abroad. Victims are usually trafficked to Finland, Sweden and the other Nordic countries, as well as Germany and Italy. There are also indications of internal trafficking typically from the northeast border region to the capital for prostitution. Those most at risk for being trafficked are unemployed Russian-speaking non-citizens with little or no high school education.

The Government of Estonia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Within the last year, the government passed anti-trafficking legislation and participated in regional anti-trafficking efforts; however, protection efforts were relatively weak and it did not engage in concrete preventive efforts in Estonia.

Prevention
Estonia was active in regional cooperation efforts on prevention, including the Nordic Baltic Council of Ministers anti-trafficking campaign; however, the government did not recognize the full extent of the trafficking problem within the last year, nor did it provide specific resources to prevention efforts.

Prosecution
The Government of Estonia passed new amendments to its Penal Code to criminalize trafficking in persons and enslavement, with a maximum penalty of 12 years imprisonment. Eight people were arrested under the new legislation, and 12 other cases were under investigation; but no cases proceeded to prosecution. Police and government officials participate in NGO-sponsored trainings, and trafficking issues are part of the curricula for the Police and Border Guard Schools, and in the Public Service academy. Estonia has a cooperative agreement with Finland to focus on border security and mutual assistance in prosecution, which may provide a framework for anti-trafficking cooperation, although currently the agreement is used to combat drug trafficking and prostitution. Two persons were extradited to Finland for procurement of prostitutes, but the relevance to trafficking was not determined

Protection
The government does not provide assistance for programs specifically focused on trafficking victims, but it provides limited funds to centers that provide shelter and volunteer training to assist victims of all crimes. Victims may apply for financial assistance under the 2001 State Compensation of Victims of Crime Act, although education and awareness campaigns about the services were not reported. The Ministry of Social Affairs is introducing a new general victim support system with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, which may be utilized for victims of trafficking. Victims may file civil suits or seek legal action against traffickers, but victim restitution is lacking. The government has no special programs or shelters specifically for trafficking victims and the government relies on assistance by international organizations, NGOs, and foreign governments for trafficking victim assistance programs.

ETHIOPIA (Tier 2)

Ethiopia is primarily a source country for women, and to a lesser extent, children trafficked to Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates for domestic labor. Some women, lured by the prospect of employment abroad, are subjected to domestic servitude and sexual abuse. There is internal trafficking of children for forced labor. Large numbers of displaced persons in camps are increasingly vulnerable to trafficking, particularly the exchange of sexual services for food.

The Government of Ethiopia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints and a widespread food emergency. Enhanced law enforcement efforts, especially follow-through on cases, witness protection, prosecution of cases to conviction, and curbing corruption are needed.

Prevention
The government and an international organization conducted a public awareness campaign and inserted anti-trafficking messages into the school curriculum. Local government authorities, trade unions, and children are being mobilized to prevent trafficking and identify traffickers to authorities. Community task forces of barkeepers, police, health providers, and local politicians are involved in anti-trafficking activities. The government provides anonymous complaint forms in local areas to help identify traffickers and those who abuse children’s rights. Additionally, an inter-ministerial committee on trafficking meets monthly to coordinate government activities. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs monitors and keeps statistics on the numbers of Ethiopians trafficked abroad. In concert with an international organization, the government launched a project for pre-departure briefings of labor migrants to explain their rights in the destination countries. The government supports an ongoing awareness-raising campaign about abuse and exploitation during humanitarian crises.

Prosecution
The Criminal Code prohibits trafficking in women, infants, and young persons. More than 100 traffickers have been arrested in Ethiopia under other statutes, but lack of cooperation from witnesses makes convictions difficult to obtain. Employment agencies, which are a key recruitment mechanism for traffickers, are required to register with the government, but this regulation is not fully enforced. Ethiopians traveling abroad must have a valid work permit; however, false documents are easily obtained and low-level collusion between traffickers and government officials has led to weak enforcement. Allegations of official collusion are being investigated.

Protection
The government works with destination countries to provide assistance to victims abroad and opened a consulate in Lebanon to address the needs of trafficking victims. The consulate, which provides shelter and legal advice, is currently handling 710 cases. Victims are not detained or jailed, and the government sometimes assists with transportation costs for returning victims to travel from the capital to home areas. The government works with NGOs to help street children, victims of child prostitution, and child laborers. Child Protection Units at police stations educate law enforcement officials on the rights of children.

FINLAND (Tier 2)

Finland is a destination and transit country for women and girls trafficked by organized crime syndicates into sexual exploitation, including into enclosed prostitution camps in the northern part of the country. Traffickers bring women in the country on surreptitious marriage contracts and then force them into prostitution. Victims are mainly from Eastern Europe and the Baltic States (Russia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Moldova), but also Southeast Asia (Thailand and the Philippines). Once in Finland, many victims are trafficked throughout the country and on to other Nordic countries and Western Europe.

The Government of Finland does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government dedicated resources to prevention efforts in neighboring source countries; however, law enforcement efforts lacked focus on internal and labor trafficking. Moreover, the government should increase efforts to distinguish trafficking from illegal immigration to ensure implementation of victim protection mechanisms.

Prevention
The Government of Finland did not conduct significant prevention campaigns within Finland, but it focused efforts regionally and internationally. The government participated in the 2002 Nordic Baltic Campaign Against Trafficking in Women, which calls upon governments to dedicate significant resources to combat and monitor trafficking in the region. The government funded prevention activities in other countries, and allocated human resources for some Stability Pact training events. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health compiles information on international commercial prostitution to combat its negative consequences and on June 1-3, 2003, Finland co-hosted with the U.S., Canadian, and Swedish Embassies in Helsinki, a regional conference on best practices in combating trafficking in minors.

Prosecution
Presently, the law does not specifically prohibit trafficking in persons, nor does the penal code reference trafficking in persons. Many related crimes are absent from the Penal Code as well, such as restricting another’s freedom of movement; trafficking in persons for transit purposes; restriction of will, choice and movement of prostitutes via debt bondage; and passport confiscation. The government is developing draft legislation that provides a legal definition for trafficking and provides penalties commensurate with other grave crimes. The government instituted strict border controls and benefited from positive law enforcement cooperation between the EU and Nordic countries. Near the end of 2002, the Helsinki Police ended the most notorious organized prostitution ring in the Helsinki area, but made no arrests. High-ranking police officials believe that the absence of anti-trafficking legislation resulted in insufficient police funding for combating trafficking.

Protection
Cooperation between police and victim assistance organizations exists. The anti-trafficking working group of the Police, Border and Immigration authorities consults with social and health care authorities, and one NGO that works with trafficking victims receives funding from national ministries and local sources. Space at most shelters is limited, and some shelters are unwilling to provide short or long-term assistance due to safety concerns. Although there is no formal witness protection program, the defendants that intimidate witnesses during trials are punished and victims are provided legal support and a representative upon request. Authorities are unable to effectively follow information flows and trends pertaining to trafficking as police are not trained on victim identification and they deport foreign prostitutes in almost all cases, trafficked or voluntary. In general, those facing trafficking situations do not report out of fear of deportation or of retribution. In addition, the police report that some women applying for visas at the Finnish consulate in St. Petersburg quietly requested that the visa officer refuse their application, alerting to a potential trafficking situation from that area.

FRANCE (Tier 1)

France is a destination country for victims, primarily women, trafficked from Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union for the purposes of prostitution and domestic servitude. French police estimate that 90% of the 15,000 prostitutes working in France are trafficking victims, and that 3,000 to 8,000 children are forced into prostitution and labor, including begging. To a lesser extent, France is also a transit country for women trafficked from Africa, South America, and Eastern and Southern Europe to other European countries, and sometimes traffickers “rotate” victims in and out of France and neighboring countries to avoid violating visa regulations and evade the police. There are also reports of Chinese and Colombian men trafficked into bonded or forced labor in France.The Government of France fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In 2003, France passed a comprehensive law to combat trafficking and slavery and improve victim assistance, and developed an innovative preventive program through Air France. The law and its related protections are still very new and while no information on implementation of the criminal and protective mechanisms is available as of now, these will be important elements for fulfillment of the minimum standards in coming years.

Prevention
In an effort to prevent trafficking of would-be legal migrants, the government conducted focused bilateral efforts with source country governments. For example, the government provided financial assistance to trafficking victims from Mali to prevent them from falling into traffickers’ hands, and France and Romania concluded a bilateral agreement to reduce child-beggar and child-prostitute trafficking networks. Air France, a government enterprise, began a poster and in-flight video campaign on sex tourism. The government provided financial support to organizations in France conducting prevention activities.

Prosecution
In February 2003, France passed an anti-trafficking and slavery law, including a provision against trafficking of children for begging, with penalties of imprisonment or high fines. The law enhances existing criminal provisions, including a 2002 law against child prostitution and trafficking. Cases progressed to court, including an indictment against 11 defendants charged with prostitution of a minor. The Central Office for the Repression of Trafficking in Persons (OCRTEH) under the central criminal investigation directorate of the judicial police coordinates operations among the law enforcement agencies and with NGOs, and keeps statistics on victims and arrests. OCRTEH arrested 643 people for pimping, and assisted 875 victims. OCRTEH succeeded in dismantling 20 Eastern European trafficking networks, four Nigerian networks, and arrested and sentenced the organizers of a West African prostitution ring. French police placed liaison officers in Romania and Bulgaria, and finalized a two-year joint Russian-French investigation of an international trafficking network run by the Russian mafia. Two notorious gang leaders were indicted and two more are in custody.

Protection
According to the new interior security law, the government assists victims of trafficking by opening its safe houses to victims, providing social assistance, and granting temporary residence while victims apply for asylum or pursue cases against former employers. The government’s “ad hoc” administrator is responsible for protecting unaccompanied minors through social care services, legal representation and asylum procedures. The government opened a special center for children who are victims of sexual exploitation. French legislation passed in October 2002 allows for the repatriation of trafficking victims and the government has worked with notable source countries to ensure reintegration assistance. Foreign victims who collaborate with the French judiciary are granted a temporary residence card, and a permanent one if the person who trafficked them is convicted. Those who do not participate in court proceedings are immediately sent back to their home countries, also with reintegration assistance.

GABON (Tier 2)

Gabon is primarily a destination country for children trafficked from Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, and Nigeria for domestic servitude, street hawking, and agricultural labor. Parents in originating countries are duped by traffickers with promises of good employment and wages; instead children are forced to work long hours, suffer physical abuse, and receive insufficient food, no wages, and no access to education. A growing number of children are sexually abused.

The Government of Gabon does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite limited resources. The government should step up efforts to prosecute traffickers.

Prevention
The government continued a national anti-trafficking information campaign that includes billboards, television coverage, radio announcements, dramas, school curricula, and child rights pamphlets. Gabon participates in an international program that eliminates the worst forms of child labor and hosted regional workshops on cross-border child trafficking throughout the year.

Prosecution
There is no anti-trafficking law, although anti-trafficking legislation was introduced into the National Assembly in March 2003. In a January 2002 executive order, the President authorized law enforcement to prosecute individuals illegally employing minors. Trafficking cases may be prosecuted under laws prohibiting exploitation, abandonment, and mistreatment of children as well as organizing, facilitating, harboring, selling, or illegally employing trafficked or exploited children.

Protection
Victims are not jailed or detained; instead, the government turns them over to source country embassies for repatriation or existing shelters. Neighboring countries work closely with the government on repatriation and the government sometimes waives the $180 exit fee in the case of child trafficking victims. However, there are many victims who were trafficked to Gabon when they were younger, and as young adults have no proof of entry and cannot afford to pay the fee. The government supports two shelters run by NGOs that have assisted more than 100 victims. A government-NGO hotline for trafficking victims is planned but not yet operational.

THE GAMBIA (Tier 2)

The Gambia is a country of origin, transit, and destination for trafficked persons. Sex tourists from The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Belgium exploit Gambian children and, in some cases, traffick them to Europe for prostitution and pornography. Internal trafficking for domestic servitude also occurs. To a lesser extent, The Gambia is a destination for children trafficked from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea for sexual exploitation. The Gambia also serves as a transit point for criminal groups trafficking West African women to Europe.

The Government of The Gambia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints. The Gambia’s passage of sex tourism and anti-trafficking legislation will enhance its law enforcement efforts.

Prevention
The government supported a study conducted by an NGO and the Gambian Child Protection Alliance (CPA), a consortium of non-governmental organizations, on the country’s large-scale sex tourism problem. The country is completing its own survey with an international organization. Meanwhile, the National Task Force is undertaking a three-pronged plan of action with international organizations, NGOs, and the CPA that includes prevention campaigns focused on pedophiles and prostitution. The government held a two-day workshop to sensitize journalists on reporting child exploitation stories in a victim-friendly way. The Gambian Tourist Authority warns incoming tourists about youths offering assistance and sexual services. The Gambia participates in a regional plan of action against trafficking in persons.

Prosecution
The government is in the process of harmonizing its laws with the U.N. Trafficking in Persons Protocol, which it has ratified, and is already in compliance with the Child Rights Convention. Trafficking nets a 10-year sentence and rapists receive life in prison, but this will increase to the death penalty under the new amendments. Law enforcement arrested and deported five foreigners for trafficking young girls out of The Gambia and in March 2003 broke up a pedophile ring. The government cooperates with the Dutch police to monitor and investigate Dutch pedophiles. The Tourism Bill is being amended to include protective measures for victims and stiffer penalties for abuses committed by tourists. Government enforcement efforts, however, remain weak, particularly against local hotel operators. Foreign applicants for temporary residence permits are required to submit fingerprints for a police check for criminal records. The police have a mechanism by which they receive information on tourists. A special Tourism Force was established with the National Guard. The government issues photo-digitized passports and provides additional training for immigration officers to reduce cross-border trafficking. Police received “After Arrest Procedure” training for dealing with juveniles.

Protection
The government provides limited temporary shelter, medical care, and psychological services to victims, but relies primarily on NGOs to provide these services. The Child Welfare Unit of the Police is always commanded by a mother to ensure extra sensitivity to protection issues. The Department of Social Welfare screens all children under 17 prior to travel to Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, and Norway.

GEORGIA (Tier 3)

Georgia is a source country for women trafficked primarily to Turkey, Greece, and the UAE, with smaller numbers trafficked to Israel, Spain, Portugal and the United States for purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and forced labor. Thousands of children living in the streets and in orphanages are vulnerable to trafficking.The Government of Georgia does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and it is not making significant efforts to do so. Georgia is a country with limited resources, exacerbated by 300,000 displaced persons and three breakaway republics outside government control. While the government made some efforts to strengthen law enforcement coordination, and advanced closer to amending its criminal legislation, its efforts were unorganized and lagged behind those of NGOs.

Prevention
The government conducted few preventive efforts. The National Action Plan issued by the President in 2003 envisages a number of preventive activities yet to be implemented. The Ombudsperson’s office created a working group with NGOs active on trafficking in persons but did not implement specific programs. The Government Passport Office agreed to distribute prevention pamphlets produced by local NGOs, but after review, some NGOs complained that those pamphlets were not actually distributed at all. The government did not actively respond to the potential threat of child trafficking.

Prosecution
Georgian criminal law addresses some elements of trafficking but lacks specific trafficking crimes, and has no articles related to victim protection. The Ministry of Justice led a legislative drafting group that presented a set of amendments to the criminal law to Parliament in early 2003, but as of April 2003, Parliament had not yet passed the draft amendments. The government did not report information on the number of trafficking-related arrests or convictions in the past year, although the Minister of the Interior appointed a six-person anti-trafficking unit currently conducting investigations. The new unit lacks resources, but its officers are cooperating with NGOs and participating in capacity-building trainings. The unit is conducting two international investigations with destination countries. Official corruption remains a problem and hinders effective responses to the problem.

Protection
The government does not have a system for victim assistance nor does it provide witness protection. There are no active referral mechanisms, nor methods to screen potential victims. The National Commission on Violence Against Women and Children logged one call to its hotline related to child trafficking. The government indicated its political will to respond to trafficking last year, which may lead to concrete actions in the future based on Presidential Decree 15 which recognized the link between trafficking and organized crime, and which approved the National Action Plan. Victim advocacy organizations will have a role in assisting the government to implement the plan, but they were excluded largely from the process of drafting. The Ministry of Interior began investigating establishment of a safe location for repatriated victims, and while a potential facility was located, no donors or funds were identified to implement the program.

GERMANY (Tier 1)

Germany is both a transit and destination for internationally trafficked persons, primarily women from the former Soviet Union and Central Europe (especially Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Latvia), for prostitution. Some victims also come from Africa (particularly Nigeria), and Asia (particularly Thailand). In 2001, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Federal Office for Criminal Investigation officially counted and registered 987 victims of sex trafficking that year, representing a 6.6% increase from the previous year.

The Government of Germany fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government’s response was particularly effective in preventive engagement with source countries and increased training and awareness programs for consular officers abroad. One cause for concern is the growing number of victims from Eastern Europe and Africa. This will bear watching in coming years.

Prevention
Germany’s federal government focused on reaching potentially trafficked victims before they enter the country. German embassies and consulates abroad distribute an official brochure available in thirteen languages that provides information on residency and work permit requirements, counseling centers for women, health care, and warnings about trafficking. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides funds for German embassies to organize or sponsor anti-trafficking projects in foreign countries and conducted sensitivity training for consular officers from several embassies of countries of origin.

Prosecution
Germany’s Federal Criminal and Labor Codes cover the full scope of trafficking, including specific provisions regarding trafficking for sexual exploitation. Related laws, including sexual coercion/rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and crimes against personal freedom allow penalties similar to trafficking crimes. Germany actively investigates cases of trafficking at both the state and federal level. The Federal Office for Criminal Investigation has a special trafficking-in-persons team that, inter alia, coordinates international operations, offers special training, and publishes the annual trafficking in persons report. Latest available figures list 273 pre-trial investigations for trafficking for sexual exploitation, and 148 convictions. Law enforcement authorities also cite other crimes such as smuggling and pimping that are easier to prove and provide for the similar penalties. The Federal Interagency Working Group facilitates coordination among the relevant agencies, NGOs, and law enforcement agencies.

Protection
The government partially funds various NGO victim counseling centers, including the approximately 38 centers countrywide, although the funding base for these centers is not firm. The Interagency Working Group has developed a cooperation program between local counseling centers and various state police offices for protection of and assistance to trafficked victims who agree to testify against their traffickers. The police are required to inform an NGO if they encounter a trafficking victim. Some temporary immigration benefits, such as a four-week grace period and a status of “temporary toleration” are granted for witnesses who remain for the duration of a trial. The government covers the costs of repatriation of victims. Victims of violence also are entitled to the federal victims’ compensation, which now includes trafficked victims with a status of “toleration” (see above), for the duration of the trial.

GHANA (Tier 1)

Ghana is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked persons and has an internal trafficking problem. Most victims are children trafficked internally for forced labor, such as in the fishing industry or for street hawking. Ghanaian adults and children are trafficked to neighboring countries for labor and prostitution. Some women are trafficked to Europe and forced into prostitution, and Ghana has become a transit point for Nigerian women trafficked to Italy, Germany, and The Netherlands for commercial sexual exploitation.

The Government of Ghana fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government could further improve by passing an anti-trafficking legislation to help expedite prosecutions through to final conviction and give momentum to the national anti-trafficking task force.

Prevention
The national task force used the African Union Day of the Child and National Children’s Day to highlight the dangers of child trafficking and child labor. Elected government officials are actively involved with efforts to raise awareness of trafficking and have organized sensitization meetings on trafficking with opinion leaders, chiefs, and village elders. The government funds ten percent of an international program to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. It also sponsors radio and television public service announcements against trafficking and distributes handbills on trafficking to transport owners and local officials. The Ghana National Drama Company uses nationally recognized stars in a television drama to further sensitization on cultural practices that encourage trafficking. The government uses a World Bank loan package to directly assist street children. The government has established a Needy Child Fund to reach 50 children in each of 110 districts. The government is using the Red Card Against Child Labor campaign at national and local soccer matches. Ghana participates in regional efforts to combat trafficking.

Prosecution
Ghana lacks an anti-trafficking law. However, law enforcement efforts are moving forward while the trafficking law moves slowly through the legislative system. The Inspector General of Police has issued letters directing local police commanders to assist NGOs working on trafficking cases. The government has banned ritual servitude, indentured servitude, indecent assault, and forced marriages and has increased the penalties for defilement and child prostitution. Statistics for trafficking are not kept separately. The government investigated 1,620 cases of defilement, which mandate 5 to 15 year sentences, in 2002 and 429 from January to March 2003. There were 729 kidnapping and abduction cases and 34 child-stealing cases in 2002. Five child-stealing cases have been reported from January to March 2003. Several recent trafficking cases were the result of a tip-off system for local residents. Immigration officers are trained in detecting fraudulent documentation and identifying TIP victims, including training arranged by the Chief of Immigration.

Protection
The government rescues street children and closely cooperates with NGOs that provide shelter and rehabilitation and has provided a government building for use as a project office and transit camp for children. The government uses World Bank funds to return street children to their homes in the north. The Ministry of Manpower is attempting to provide more counseling services. In partnership with international organizations, the government is currently returning 571 children trafficked into the fishing industry and offering fishermen incentives to release a total of 1,200 children. The Women and Juvenile Unit of the Police has an outreach program for communities on trafficking and domestic violence.

GREECE (Tier 3)

Greece is a destination and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. According to a government source, as many as 18,000 people were trafficked to Greece in 2002. Major countries of origin include Albania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. Women from Asia, Africa and other countries are also trafficked to Greece, and in some cases are reportedly trafficked on to Cyprus, Turkey, and the Middle East. Child trafficking is a problem. While sources in Greece find that child trafficking has decreased, the problem persists and Albanian children are known to make up the majority of children trafficked for forced labor, begging, and stealing. Children from the Greek Roma community are also trafficked for labor.

The Government of Greece does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government showed a shift in political will to address trafficking through its recent comprehensive legislation on sex trafficking. However, the government has not yet effectively enforced the law. Victim assistance mechanisms have not yet been implemented and NGO cooperation remains weak. Moreover, trafficked children are reportedly treated by Greek authorities as either criminals or illegal aliens. One report claims that trafficked children are summarily arrested, deported and then dropped off and abandoned along the Albania-Greece border.

Prevention
The Government of Greece did not conduct widespread prevention campaigns. It did allow public space for a six week-long anti-slavery poster exhibition to raise awareness, and an anti-trafficking campaign on state-owned television. The government also funded a public service announcement which ran on seven Greek radio stations to educate the public about the problem, and funded one NGO in the amount of US $125,000 to create an anti-TIP campaign. The government did not sponsor prevention activities in source countries during the reporting period. The government’s new anti-trafficking legislation offers preventive strategies, but they are broad and at present, neither developed nor implemented. The government increased the number of border control agents.

Prosecution
In October of 2002, the government passed new anti-trafficking legislation to criminalize and punish traffickers, as well as develop victim support, but there is no provision for labor trafficking. There have not been any prosecutions or convictions under the law’s criminal provisions, which became immediately effective upon passage last October. There were approximately 140 trafficking-related arrests under the new law, but there is no data yet on convictions. Lack of progress on arrests limits the ability to measure overall effectiveness of the new law. Prosecution of traffickers is limited due to a slow and inefficient judicial system. A training module on trafficking is given to new police recruits as part of their introductory training, while more senior police attend a five-day seminar on trafficking issues. Some NGOs report that local police are still often complicit and bribed by sex club owners. The Pan Hellenic Confederation of Police Officers publicly acknowledged the involvement of the police in networks that traffick women. To date, there are no convictions of police officers complicit in human trafficking. With the exception of regional working groups, bilateral engagement to date is poor with source countries such as Bulgaria, Albania and Moldova.

Protection
The provisions of the new anti-trafficking law outlining victim protection and assistance await a presidential decree, which is expected to be signed by the necessary ministers and published in June 2003. Minors trafficked into Greece for the purpose of forced labor and sexual exploitation are often detained by police as criminals. Those under 12 years old are placed in reception centers, while those as young as 13 have been put in jail for begging or illegal immigration. According to one NGO, the Greek government detains and deports children in groups and returns them to the Albanian border without ensuring their reception by Albanian authorities, nor their protection from re-trafficking. Child authorities in Thessaloniki reported the assisted repatriation of 191 trafficked children - between the ages of 5-17 years; however, few cases were reportedly conducted with advance notice to prepare the families and transport them safely. Some reports say that children were deported with less than 24 hours notice and without sufficient coordination on both sides of the border. To date, there are neither referral systems for victim assistance nor shelters for trafficked victims. The government reported that 62 victims were liberated from traffickers, and some of them were placed in battered women’s shelters. In general, temporary residence is legally allowed to victims who agree to testify against their traffickers, but only at the discretion of the prosecutor. Illegal aliens are deported, regardless of trafficking victim status. The government’s financial commitment to develop and implement the provisions of the new anti-trafficking law on victim support, such as shelters, medical and psychological assistance and protections from police detention and immediate deportation, awaits the presidential decree.

GUATEMALA (Tier 2)

Guatemala is a source, transit, and — to a lesser extent — a destination country for trafficking of persons. Most often, Guatemalan victims are young women and minors who are trafficked abroad for sexual exploitation. There is also internal trafficking involving the forced labor and sexual exploitation of children. Foreign victims are mainly Central and South Americans, including Ecuadorians, often being smuggled through Guatemala to Mexico and the United States, who are pushed into sexual and other exploitation by traffickers. Guatemala is also a transit country for illegal migrants, some of whom may be trafficked.

The Government of Guatemala does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Officials in the government are aware of the trafficking challenge, but have made only limited progress in implementing policies to combat the problem. Further cooperation between the governments of Guatemala and Mexico is needed to address trafficking abuses on their common border.

Prevention
The government’s Action Plan against Sexual Exploitation of Minors and Adolescents, approved in July 2001, is a comprehensive plan but so far has demonstrated minimal results. The Human Rights Ombudsman’s office conducts the government’s prevention efforts. The office sponsored public information campaigns on the dangers of trafficking found in illegal migration. Other governmental offices are dedicated to assisting indigenous women abused in domestic violence. The Presidential Secretariat of Social Welfare coordinated government cooperation with civil society groups under the plan to combat sexual exploitation of minors. The government provides office space to many NGOs that work to gather information and prevent trafficking.

Prosecution
The Government of Guatemala has shown some resolution to combat trafficking, but law enforcement does not receive the priority it should be given. Guatemala has several laws against trafficking in its immigration and criminal statutes, but the prosecutions and convictions of traffickers have been few. Officials in the Human Rights Ombudsman’s office, Labor Ministry, and State prosecutors investigate trafficking cases. According to government figures, during the reporting period some 50 prosecutions dealing with possible cross-border trafficking abuses were initiated. There was at least one conviction, but information on convictions is incomplete. In 2003, in a positive move, police arrested several likely child traffickers. Under the applicable statutes, penalties for traffickers are generally too lenient. Mid-level and senior immigration officials have been accused of corrupt practices, and there have been allegations that former military officers have been involved in migrant smuggling rings. The government named a new anti-corruption commission in 2002 to address its serious corruption problem. During the reporting period, about 130 officials were dismissed for corruption, according to the government. The government does not fully monitor and control its borders; and efforts particularly along the Mexican border, a region of much international trafficking, have been inadequate.

Protection
The government does not assist trafficking victims specifically, but it does provide limited general assistance to crime victims in centers in provincial capitals. Trafficking victims can use any of these centers, but there is no information available on the number of victims who have done so. Foreign victims are not treated as criminals; however, some are subject to quick deportation, but many stay in Guatemala. Trafficking victims are not encouraged to act as witnesses against their traffickers. The government provides specialized training for police and other officials for dealing with victims of crime.

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Updated: March 14, 2011


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About the crisis of forced prostitution of minor girls and young women in the largest center for organized sex trafficking in Mexico: Tlaxcala state.

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Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Former Argentine spy Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola has been accused by his adult daughter, Lorena Martins, of running a sex trafficking ring based in Cancun, Mexico.

El “caso Martins”, al Congreso de la Unión

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados del Congreso de la Unión, solicitó la expulsión de Raúl Luis Martins Coggiola del país, debido a que significa un riesgo para la sociedad mexicana su presencia por lucrar con seres humanos.

La titular de la comisión, Rosi Orozco, afirmó que es urgente concretar la expulsión del país del ciudadano argentino Raúl Luis Martins al señalar que esta persona junto con un socio "está lucrando con seres humanos", por lo que es necesario que las autoridades mexicanas investiguen a fondo su presunta participación como líder de una red de trata de personas en Cancún y la Riviera Maya...

La legisladora federal explicó que "es urgente que las autoridades tomen cartas en el asunto, pues no entiendo cómo pueden no darse cuenta que el mismo abogado que defendió a Succar Kuri es quien ha estado defendiendo a este señor", puntualizó. Indicó que el asunto debe ser investigado de manera exhaustiva ya que se tiene una procuradora comprometida contra la trata de personas, a quien no le tiembla la mano para castigar a personas que explotan a niñas, niños y jóvenes. De acuerdo con medios de comunicación argentinos Martins Coggiola es líder de una red de trata de personas en centros nocturnos en su país y en Cancún, donde jóvenes sudamericanas son enganchadas con promesas de trabajo y posteriormente las obligan a prostituirse.

Lea el artículo completo

Congress considers the case of Raúl Martins

The Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons of the lower house of Congress has called for the expulsion of Argentine citizen Raul Luis Martins Coggiola, because his presence represents a risk to Mexican society due to his [ilicit] efforts to profit from human exploitation.

The head of the commission, Deputy Rosi Orozco, said it is urgent to realize the deportation of an Argentine Raul Luis Martins, stating that both he and a partner "are profiting from human beings," so it is necessary that the Mexican authorities thoroughly investigate his alleged role as the leader of a trafficking network based in [the beach resort cities of] Cancun and Riviera Maya.

Deputy Orozco explained that "it is urgent that the authorities take action on the matter...I do not understand how they have failed to realize that the lawyer who defended [infamous convicted millionaire child pornographer Jean] Succar Kuri is the same one who has been defending this man." She added that the matter should be investigated comprehensively, given that we now have a prosecutor who is dedicated to human trafficking cases and whose hand does not tremble when it comes to the task of punishing those who exploit children and youth. According to Argentine media reports, Martins Coggiola leads a human trafficking network based in nightclubs both in Argentina and in Cancun, Mexico, where young South American women are entrapped with false promises of jemployment, and are then forced into prostitution.

Read the full article

Por Esto

Feb. 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Lorena Martins, daughter of Raul Martins

Argentine ex-spy accused of sex trafficking

The daughter of former Argentine intelligence officer Raul Martins will arrive in Mexico this week with evidence that her father is running a sex trafficking ring in the Mexican resort city of Cancun, an activist told EFE Monday.

Lorena Martins will deliver the evidence to Mexican lawmaker Rosi Orozco, who chairs a special committee investigating human trafficking, Gustavo Vera, head of the NGO La Alameda, said.

Lorena has already filed a criminal complaint in Argentina accusing her father of luring Argentine women and girls to Cancun and then forcing them into prostitution.

Read the full article

IANS/EFE

Jan. 31, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Prostitution Network Buenos Aries – Cancun case will go to the Chamber of Deputies in Mexico City

Lorena Martins daughter of Raul Martins, an Argentine former spy accused of managing a prostitution network in Cancun that has reached even the mayor of Buenos Aires of receiving money for his campaign from this illegal activity in Mexico, will flight to Mexico City to denounce her father before the Chamber of Deputies, reported the Excelsior.

Lorena Martins will present emails, cell phones and other materials as proofs of a prostitution network between Buenos Aires and Cancun that ties her father Raul Martins with several businessmen, politicians and high ranking official in Mexico.

Read the full article

The Yucatan Times

Jan. 31, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina

Tratan de expulsarlo por la trata

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Diputados de México pidió que Raúl Martins fuera deportado. Sus abogados apelaron. Lorena, su hija, entregó a la jueza Servini de Cubría el diario de una ex de su padre en el que relata la trata de dos niñas.

La Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas de la Cámara de Diputados de México pidió ayer la expulsión de Raúl Martins. El pedido es un reflejo de la denuncia de su hija, Lorena, quien relató la forma en que la organización de su padre llevó chicas argentinas, brasileñas y de otras nacionalidades a ejercer la prostitución en Cancún. Ya en 2010, la multipremiada periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho, en su libro Esclavas del Poder, tituló el capítulo sobre Martins con el nombre de “El Intocable”. En Buenos Aires, Lorena se presentó ante la jueza María Romilda Servini de Cubría, que finalmente es quien investigará el caso, y le entregó pruebas manuscritas de un diario de una ex pareja de su padre en la que se relata cómo le trajeron dos chicas de 15 años. Otras evidencias fueron remitidas a la jueza por el procurador Esteban Righi.

Lorena Martins estuvo cinco días en México. Presentó las denuncias ante la Comisión de Lucha contra la Trata y también ante la Procuración General de la República. La joven fue recibida por la primera dama de México, Margarita Zavala, en la sede del gobierno azteca, de manera que el interés por el caso –adelantado en exclusiva por Página/12 en diciembre– llegó hasta el más alto nivel del país del Norte.

Ayer, la diputada Rosy Orozco, titular de la Comisión de Trata, pidió la expulsión de Martins de México, porque “está lucrando con seres humanos. Es urgente que las autoridades se den cuenta de que quien defiende a este señor es el mismo que defendió a Succar Kury”, un famoso pederasta, poderoso dueño de una cadena hotelera, que hasta decía en un video que mantenía relaciones sexuales con niñas, incluso de cinco años. El caso también fue investigado por Lydia Cacho en el libro Los demonios del Edén.

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Congressional members call for the expulsion of Raúl Martins from Mexico

The Special Commission to Combat Human Trafficking in the Lower House of Congress has requested that Raúl Martins be deported. Martins' lawyers have appealed. Martins' daughter Lorena has turned over evidence to a Judge Servini de Cubría

The Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons of the of the lower house of Congresss yesterday asked the expulsion of Raul Martins. The demand is a reaction to a complaint made by Martins' daughter Lorena, who recounted how her father's [ilicit human trafficking] organization has brought women from Argentina, Brazil and other nations to engage in prostitution in the city of Cancun, Mexico. In 2010, the award-winning Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho, in her book Servants of Power, mentions Martins in a chapter called "The Untouchable." In Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lorena appeared before Judge Maria Romilda Servini de Cubria, who investigated the case, and provided evidence in the form of a handwritten diary written by a former girlfriend of her father, in which she relates how Raul Martins had [sex] trafficked two 15-year-old girls. Other evidence was submitted to the judge by the prosecutor Esteban Righi.

Lorraine Martins [recently] spent five days in Mexico. She presented her complaints before the Special Commission to Combat Human Trafficking [of the lower house of Congress], as well as before the federal Attorney General's Office. She was also received by the first lady of Mexico, Margarita Zavala in the seat of the Aztec [Mexican] government, showing that the case, which was releaved by Page12 reporters in December of 2011, had reached the highest level of attention. .

Yesterday, Deputy Rosi Orozco, president of the congressional anti-trafficking commission, called for the expulsion of Martins from Mexico, because, she said, "he is profiting from human exploitation. It is urgent that the authorities realize that the lawyer who is defending Martins also represented [convicted child sex trafficker] Jean Succar Kuri," an infamous pedophile and powerful hotel chain owner, who had once been recorded with hidden video admitting that he had engaged in sexual acts with girls as young as age five. The case was [first exposed by anti-trafficking activist and journalist] Lydia Cacho in her book The Demons of Eden.

Read the full article

Raúl Kollmann

Page 12

Feb. 09, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Argentina / Paraguay / Dominican Republic

Prostitution ring brought people from Argentina to Mexico

Buenos Aires.- A prostitution ring operated by former Argentine spy Raul Martins, reported yesterday in Mexico by his own daughter, started by advertising vacancies in local newspapers and culminated in the sexual exploitation of women in Cancun, Mexico.

Gustavo Vera, representative of La Alameda, a prestigious organization dedicated to denouncing people trafficking for labor and sexual slavery in the South American country, told Notimex details of the operation.

In fact, La Alameda published the photo of Martins with the mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, who is alleged to have received funding of the alleged pimp in his election campaign.

Read the full article

Cecilia Gonzalez

Notimex

Feb. 02, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mayoría de víctimas de trata de personas en NY son hispanos

Nueva York - Más de la mitad de los afectados por la trata de personas y que viven en el estado de Nueva York son inmigrantes latinoamericanos obligados a realizar trabajos forzados o a prostituirse, según datos de la mayor agencia de servicios a víctimas de Estados Unidos.

Un 58% de los clientes de Safe Horizon, la agencia más importante de servicios de víctimas en el país, proviene de Latinoamérica, dijo la organización a The Associated Press. Aproximadamente un 24% de esas víctimas son mexicanos.

Las victimas de trata no tienen oportunidad de denunciar su situación por temor a ser deportados.

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The majority of human trafficking victims in New York are Hispanic

New York - According to data gathered by the largest [non profit] victim service agency in the United States, more than half of New York ressidents who are victimized by human trafficking are Latino immigrants who are forced into prostitution or labor exploitation.

Some 58% of the clients of Safe Horizon were Latin Americans, the organization told The Associated Press. Approximately 24% of those victims were Mexican.

[Many immigrant] victims of trafficking have have not had an opportunity to speak out de to their fear of being deported.

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The Associated Press

Feb. 04, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

New York City, USA / Mexico

Sex slave's story: Woman duped into leaving Mexico, forced to New York City's trafficking underworld

Sofia tells the Daily News how a "boyfriend" tricked her into leaving Mexico illegally -- and forced her into the life of a sex slave.

Her boyfriend told her they were leaving Mexico to live with his relatives in Queens, get restaurant jobs and build a happy life in America.

Instead, she was forced into a life of sex slavery — made to work as a “delivery girl” prostitute riding from john to john in a livery cab.

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Erica Pearson

New York Daily News

Feb. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexican Member of Congress and leading anti-trafficking advocate Deputy Rosi Orozco

Cada semana llegan a Tijuana decenas de niñas y mujeres de para ser forzadas a prostituirse: Rosi Orozco

Diputada Rosi Orozco: "cada semana llegan a Tijuana, Baja California, autobuses y aviones con decenas de niñas y mujeres de entre 3 a 65 años de edad para ser forzadas a prostituirse, refirió."

Distrito Federal.-La presidenta de la Comisión Especial para la Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, diputada Rosi Orozco (PAN), impulsa un punto de acuerdo para la colocación de un muro en las instalaciones del Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro, en el que se exhiban fotografías de niñas, niños y mujeres desaparecidos por posible trata de personas. Además, que el Canal del Congreso difunda, de manera permanente, cápsulas con las imágenes de las posibles víctimas, así como los datos de las instancias competentes para formular denuncias, como señal de solidaridad y efectivo auxilio, precisó la legisladora.

Señaló que la trata de personas con fines sexuales es el tercer negocio ilícito más lucrativo a nivel mundial, después del tráfico de drogas y armas; genera al año diez mil millones de dólares.

La gran mayoría de las víctimas provienen de contextos en los que difícilmente pueden conocer plenamente sus derechos, subrayó.

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Each week, dozens of girl children and women are trafficked into sexual slavery in [the Mexico/U.S.] border city of Tijuana

Deputy Rosi Orozco: "According to a study conducted by the College of the Northern Frontier (Colegio de la Frontera Norte), each week dozens of girls and women between the ages of 3 and 65 are brought by bus and by air to the city of Tijuana, in the state of Baja California so that they can be exploited sexually."

Mexico Ciy - National Actional Party deputy Rosi Orozco, who is President of the Special Commission for Combating Trafficking in Persons in the lower house of Congress, has introduced a resolution for the placement of a mural on the premises of the Legislative Palace of San Lazaro, where the photographs of children and women who have disappeared and may be vicims of human trafficking will be displayed. In addition, Deputy Orozco proposes that the Congress Channel permanently broadcast segments that show the images of possible victims, as well as instuctions for filing human trafficking complaints, as a practical act of solidarity and assistance.

Orozco noted that human trafficking for sexual purposes is the third most lucrative illicit business worldwide, after drugs and arms trafficking, generating a year ten billion dollars.

The vast majority of victims come from contexts [situations] where it is difficult for them to fully know their rights, she said.

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El Observador Diario

Feb. 04, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

California, USA / Mexico

Human Trafficking Continues To Rise Along San Diego-Tijuana Border

San Diego - Nearly every official who attended the second annual bi-national forum to address human trafficking in Chula Vista agreed: Human trafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border is on the rise.

Government figures show about 18,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year. But officials also acknowledge there are many more victims hidden in communities who are sold for prostitution, labor or other services. Often times the illegal practice goes unreported.

The goal of Thursday's forum was to improve collaboration between agencies on both sides of the border to help crackdown on human trafficking and child prostitution.

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Marissa Cabrera

Fronteras Desk

Jan. 16, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

New York City, USA / Mexico

ICE agent cites 'disturbing and subhuman' methods used to trick young women into sex slavery

"It’s very difficult for us to break through to the average American, the average New Yorker and let them know that people in 2011 and 2012 are actually held against their will," says Special Agent in Charge James Hayes, Jr., of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

G-men and cops are busting twice as many human traffickers, but advocates say a sickening number of immigrants are being forced into prostitution in the city.

Last year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement racked up 172 arrests for trafficking in the metropolitan area, up from 75 the previous year.

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Erica Pearson

New York Daily News

Feb. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Presentan marcas de abuso sexual, bebes recuperados en Jalisco

En entrevista con Hoy por Hoy con Salvador Camarena, Tomás Coronado Olmos, procurador de Justicia de Jalisco, ratificó que bebés adoptados ilegalmente en dicha entidad presentan huellas de abuso sexual. “De los 11 menorcitos recuperados, seis presentan marcas de violencia sexual”.

“De los 11 menorcitos recuperados, seis presentan marcas de violencia sexual”.

Derivado de las investigaciones que realiza la PGR, dijo, hay nueve detenidos pero aun no se precisa si extranjeros de origen irlandés están relacionados con las agresiones sufridas por los menores.

“Los tenemos plenamente identificados y el embajador de Irlanda en México ha estado muy al pendiente. Una vez que concluya el proceso se determinará su situación jurídica”.

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Children put up for adoption in the cityof Jalisco show signs of sexual abuse

Jalisco state Attorney General Tomás Coronado Olmos has confirmed that the babies show signs of abuse.

"Six of 11 recovered todlers show signs of sexual abuse"

According to the federal Attorney General's Office, their investigations into this case have resulted in nine arrests. The authorities have not yet determined whether prospective adoptive parents from Ireland have any connection to the abuses.

"The [couples seeking adoption] have been identified. Ireland's ambassador in Mexico has been very attentive. After completion of the process the legal status of the prospective parents will be determined."

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wradio.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco at recent anti-trafficking forum

México, segundo lugar en pornografía infantil a nivel mundial

El 45 por ciento de las víctimas de trata son indígenas, dijo la diputada Rosi Orozco. En tanto que Margarita Zavala consideró fundamental combatir de manera frontal este delito.

El 45 por ciento de las víctimas de trata son indígenas, dijo la diputada Rosi Orozco. En tanto que Margarita Zavala consideró fundamental combatir de manera frontal este delito.

México está ubicado en el segundo lugar en producción de pornografía infantil a nivel mundial, afirmó la presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha contra la Trata de Personas, diputada panista Rosi Orozco al inaugurar el Foro Líderes de Opinión Contra la Trata de Personas.

En presencia de la presidenta del Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, la legisladora subrayó que el delito de trata de personas ocupa el segundo lugar a nivel mundial, como el negocio ilícito más redituable para el crimen organizado, con 42 mil millones de dólares, y después está el de la venta de armas.

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Mexico holds second place globally in [the production of] child pornography

Some 45% of human trafficking victims in Mexico are indigenous, according to Deputy Rosi Orozco. First Lady Margarita Zavala declares that confronting trafficking head-on is fundamental.

Some 45% of trafficking victims are indigenous, according to Deputy Rosi Orozco.

According to National Action Party Depurty Rosi Orozco, president of the Special Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Lower House of Congress, Mexico holds a second-place position in the global production of child pornography. Deputy Orozco made these remarks as she opened the forum Opinion Leaders Against Human Trafficking. The event was attended by Mexico's First Lady Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, who is also the president of the National System for Integral Family Development (the nation's social services agency).

Depurty Orozco explained that the global human trafficking business brings in ilicit earning of $42 billion per year, making it the most profitable criminal enterprise after illegal arms trafficking.

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Grupo Fórmula

Jan. 24, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

México, Segundo en Pornografia Infantil en el Mundo

Trata de personas y pornografía infantil, delitos graves… Al señalar que México es de los cinco países del orbe con el mayor problema en materia de trata de personas y segundo en pornografía infantil, la diputada panista Rosi Orozco previno que el delito de la trata, ya superó las ganancias que obtiene la delincuencia organizada por el tráfico de armas a nivel mundial, con más de 42 mil millones de dólares.

Al inaugurar el foro “Líderes de Opinión contra la Trata de Personas”, sostuvo que por todo ello, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas escogió a nuestro país para iniciar la campaña del Corazón Azul, donde se pretende sensibilizar a la población y a las autoridades para erradicar el delito.

En nuestro país, el negocio de la trata de personas sigue en ascenso; mientras que a la fecha, sólo 19 entidades del país tienen una Ley contra la Trata de Personas, y únicamente el Distrito Federal, Puebla y Chiapas han aplicado sentencias condenatorias.

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Mexico: The second largest producer of child pornography globally

Human trafficking and child pornography, felonies ... Noting that Mexico is among the five countries in the world with the biggest problem in terms of trafficking in child pornography and second, the National Action Party's Deputy Rosi Orozco, who is a member of the Lower House of Congress, has warned that the crime of trafficking has surpassed the profits earned through ilicit arms trafficking, and now amount to $42 billion dollars per year [in criminal profits].

During her presentation opening the forum Opinion Leaders Against Trafficking in Persons, Deputy Orozco added that the Organization of the United Nations chose Mexico to start its [global] Blue Heart campaign, which aims to sensitize the population and authorities with the goal of eradicating modern human slavery.

In our country, the business of trafficking in persons continues to rise, while to date only 19 states [out of 32 federated entities] in the country have a law against trafficking in persons, and only the Federal District [Mexico City], and the states of Puebla and Chiapas have have handed down sentences in criminal cases associated with these crimes.

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Jaime Arizmendi

Quadratín

Jan. 25, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico No. 2 Producer Of Child Porn, Lawmakers Say

Mexico is the world's No. 2 producer of child pornography and is classified as a source, transit and destination country for people traffickers involved in sexual exploitation, lawmakers said.

Child pornography is the No. 2 illegal business, trailing only drug trafficking, and generates $42 billion annually, Special Committee to Fight People Trafficking chairwoman Rosi Orozco said.

Indians account for about 45 percent of the victims, Orozco, a member of the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, said at the start of a forum in Mexico City on people trafficking.

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EFE

Jan. 26, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Estados más pobres, vulnerables a trata de personas: PAN

La diputada Rosi Orozco, apuntó que en el tema de la trata de personas, ahora se ha hecho mucha conciencia, luego que tiempo atrás se veía una marcada ignorancia de lo que sucedía. Asimismo, dijo ya hay acciones encaminadas a terminar con la pornografía infantil, "con los ciberdelitos que agreden tan fuertemente a los niños, niñas y jóvenes".

Rosi Orozco, diputada del PAN quien ha buscado combatir desde tiempo atrás la trata de personas, destacó el encuentro que se llevó a cabo el día de ayer en donde una chica por primera vez dio su testimonio sin cubrirse el rostro.

Explicó que la joven, quien en el libro "Del cielo al infierno", narró su historia de cómo la habían enganchado a través de enamoramiento, con el que se sentía en el cielo al estar con un príncipe, para después bajar a lo peor de un infierno de vida, de golpes para obligarla a prostituirse.

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Mexico's poorest states are vulnerable to human trafficking: National Action Party

During a recent event focused on the topic of human trafficking in Mexico, Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the National Action Party stated that significant public awareness of the issue has now been acheived, after a period in which ignorance about the facts had prevailed. She added legislation is being considered by Congress that will put an end to child pornography and "cybercrimes that seriously assault children and youth." First Lady Margarita Zavala and the media also attended.

Deputy Orozco, who has had long sought to combat human trafficking, said the meeting that was held yesterday included for the first time testimony by a victim who appeared without hiding her face.

Deputy Orozco explained that the youth, who's story is told in Orozco's book "From Heaven to Hell", related the story of how she was entrapped by a trafficker who pretended to fall in love with her. She felt that she was in heaven with her prince. Later, she fell into the worst depths of hell-on-earth when the same man beat her to force her into prostitution.

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Paola Rojas

Grupo Fòrmula

Jan. 25, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Avances, no descartan riesgos de frenar ley

No se descartan riesgos en San Lázaro que frenen la aprobación de la Ley para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas y los Delitos Relacionados, toda vez que al momento sólo 104 legisladores de todos los partidos la han avalado, todavía falta trecho por andar, y aunque “está bastante acordada”, todos los esfuerzos se hacen para que avance, a fin de combatir el lacerante comercio y explotación sexual de seres humanos: niñas, niños y mujeres.

La diputada del PAN Rosi Orozco, presidenta de la Comisión Especial de Lucha Contra la Trata de Personas aclaró: “no he politizado ninguna situación, realmente va más allá de los partidos, estamos hablando de nuestros mexicanos, de nuestros niñas y niños y protegerlos a ellos no tiene colores”, ya que es una esclavitud en pleno siglo XXI, advirtió en entrevista durante la sesión en San Lázaro.

Confió que en este último periodo ordinario de la LXI Legislatura salga la Ley para Prevenir, Sancionar y Erradicar la Trata de Personas, “es una ley que no tiene por qué no salir, la gente que está en las comisiones está de acuerdo en que tengamos una Ley General, lo difícil fue sacar la reforma al artículo 73 y eso, pues ya se logró” apunta la legisladora albiceleste.

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Human trafficking legislation advances in Congress, members decline to reveal hidden threats to passage

Congressional lawmakers have declined to reveal the sources of hidden influences that are putting efforts to pass the proposed Law on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Trafficking in Persons and Related Crimes at risk. Currently, only 104 federal lawmakers from across Mexico's political parties have endorsed the proposal. Although significant work needs to be accomplished to achieve passage of the bill, basic agreement has been reached [on the need for an enforceable federal anti-trafficking law]. All possible efforts are being made to advance the bill, which will allow [a more effective federal effort to fight the damaging effects of the labor and sexual exploitation of girls, boys and women].

During an interview held in San Lazaro (the seat of Congress), National Action Party (PAN) Deputy Rosi Orozco, who is the president of the Special Committee to Combat Human Trafficking in the lower house of Congress said: "I have not politicized this effort. It [is a campaign that] really goes beyond the [interests of individual political] parties. What we are talking about here are our Mexican people, our children. They don't have colors [political affiliations]." She added that this [crisis] is a 21st Century form of slavery.

Deputy Orozco added that she hopes that, during the latter period of the 61st [LXI] Legislature's regular session, the Law to Prevent, Punish and Erradicate Human Trafficking will be passed." She noted that there is no reason why the bill should not pass, given that the members of the relevant congressional commissions [committees] are in agreement that we should have a general law against trafficking [a general law is the only form of federal law that may actually be enforced by federal authorities in the states]. The hardest part was achieving the reform of Article 73, said Orozco [During 2011, President Felipe Calderón achieved the passage of amendments to Articles 19, 20 and 73 of the Mexican Constitution to remove certain obstacles to the prosecution of human trafficking cases].

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Luz María Alonso Sánchez

El Punto Critico

Feb. 03, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Ritmoson combate con música trata de personas

Crean campaña para generar conciencia del delito y cerrarán con un concierto

El tercer delito más lucrativo en México y otros países es la trata de personas, por ello, crear conciencia entre los jóvenes y niños para no ser víctimas de él es la pretensión del canal Ritmoson Latino.

Con la campaña Música libre, la señal internacional puso a andar su tercera iniciativa social, esta vez para combatir un “grave problema”.

Ricky Martin, Calle 13, Selena Gomez y Kinky, entre otros artistas, hacen el llamado que a partir de este mes y hasta julio próximo se transmitirá por televisión restringida y redes sociales oficiales.

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Ritmoson TV channel to run anti-trafficking campaign

The third most lucrative crime in Mexico and other countries is human trafficking. Therefore, the Latino Ritmoson channel, which is a part of the Televisa network, has created a trafficking prevention campaign to raise awareness among children and youth.

The international channel's Free Music campaign is its third social initiative, directed, this time, at addressing a "grave problem."

Performing artists] Ricky Martin, Calle 13, Selena Gomez. Kinky, among other artists will promote the campaign between now and July of 2012. It will be broadcast on television and by way of social media networks.

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Josue Fabián Arellano M.

El Universal

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

California, USA / Mexico

Bill Aims to Make It Easier to Prosecute Child Sex Traffickers

As child sex trafficking expands as a source of money for San Diego gangs, there’s an effort to make it easier for prosecutors to go after pimps.

The way California law is written now, prosecutors have to prove force or coercion when a sex trafficking victim is younger than 18. Because so many victims are lured by pimps through emotional bribery or promises of work, it’s been difficult for prosecutors to prove trafficking.

Susan Munsey is with the nonprofit group Generate Hope which helps trafficking victims get back on their feet. She said Assembly Bill 90, which changes the standard of proof from forced to encouraged or persuaded, is badly needed.

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Amita Sharma

Fronteras Desk

Aug..12, 2011


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Lideraba "La Niurka" red de prostitución de menores

Tijuana.- Una orden de aprehensión por el presunto delito de trata de personas le fue cumplimentada a María Guadalupe Román Valenzuela, alias "La Niurka", señalada como quien lideraba una red de prostitución con mujeres menores de edad desde el año 2005.

Fueron agentes de la Policía Estatal Preventiva quienes finalmente le concretaron el mandato judicial que pesaba en su contra desde el año 2007 por el delito de lenocinio, cuya figura delictiva fue cambiada con motivo de la entrada en vigor de la Ley Contra la Trata de Personas en el estado.

La Secretaría de Seguridad Pública Estatal informó que la detención de la fémina, también conocida como "La Tía", se llevó a cabo la tarde del domingo al ubicarla tras semanas de investigación en el fraccionamiento La Bodega, en la ciudad de Mexicali.

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Police arrest child sex trafficker known as "La Niurka"

The city of Tijuana - An arrest warrant for the alleged crime of human trafficking ihas been carried out against Maria Guadalupe Roman Valenzuela, also known as "The Niurka." Authorities indicate that since 2005, Roman Valenzuela has lead a prostitution ring that exploits underage girls.

The [Baja California] State Preventive Police (SSPE) arrested Roman Valenzuela, who had been wanted since 2007 on charges of pimping. The charges were later modified after the enactment of the state's Law Against Human Trafficking.

The State Secretariat of Public Security reported that the arrest of the suspect, who also went by the name of "Auntie," took place Sunday afternoon following a weeks-long investigation in the La Bodega neighborhood in the city of Mexicali.

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Manuel Cordero

El Sol de Tijuana

Jan. 17, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Journalist, women's center director and anti-trafficking advocate Lydia Cacho

Lydia Cacho wins Olof Palme Prize 2011

Lydia Cacho, Mexican journalist and writer, and Roberto Saviano, Italian author, were awarded with Olof Palme Prize 2011. They both spoke about justice and human rights issues in their native countries with a great deal of courage, and currently they are living under threats and persecution.

In 2009, Lydia Cacho received a lot of attention at the Göteborg Book Fair, where she presented the translated version of her book "I will not let myself be intimidated". She wrote it based on her life experience in Mexico – her motherland, where she is known for her accusations of corruption among Mexican politicians and businessmen.

In 2005, by having written "Demons of Eden", she exposed paedophile Succar Kuri's network in Cancun and named several accomplices among high-ranking politicians and businessmen. Since that moment the author has lived under constant death threats. Besides being an author and having written seven books in total, since 2000, Lydia Cacho has been sheltering vulnerable women and children in Cancún, where they get an opportunity to retreat.

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Göteborg Book Fair

Jan. 30, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Peru

Lanzan campaña contra la trata de menores en la minería informal

La ONG Save The Children y la Unión Europea lanzaron este fin de semana una intensa campaña para erradicar la explotación sexual y laboral de niños y adolescentes en la minería informal en Madre de Dios (selva sur), una de las regiones más pobres de Perú.

La ONG Save The Children y la Unión Europea lanzaron este fin de semana una intensa campaña para erradicar la explotación sexual y laboral de niños y adolescentes en la minería informal en Madre de Dios (selva sur), una de las regiones más pobres de Perú.

"Una de las metas de la campaña es recuperar con apoyo de la policía y fiscalía a unos mil niños, niñas y adolescentes explotadas sexual y laboralmente en campamentos de la minería informal en Madre de Dios", dijo a la AFP Teresa Carpio Villegas, representante de Save The Children en Perú.

En los campamentos las menores son explotadas en cantinas convertidas en prostíbulos conocidos como 'prostibares', así como en, entre otras actividades, en la extracción de oro y la servidumbre, señaló Carpio.

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NGO launches [million dollar] campaign against child trafficking in Peru's remote informal mining camps

THe NGO Save the Children and the Earopean Union are launching a compaign this week to intensity efforts to eradicate the sexual and labor exploitation of children and youth in the informal mining camps of Madre de Dios, one of Peru's poorest regions.

The NGO Save The Children and the European Union this weekend launched an intensive campaign to eradicate sexual and labor exploitation of children and adolescents in the informal mining region of Madre de Dios (Mother of God), one of the poorest regions of Peru.

"One of the goals of the campaign is to organize police and prosecutorial support to rescue approximately 1,000 children and teens who are exploited for sex and labor in informal mining camps of the Madre de Dios," he told AFP Teresa Carpio Villegas, who Save the Children's representative in Peru.

In the mining camps, children are exploited in bars that have been converted into brothels and are known as 'prostibars.' Minors are also exploited to work in gold mining and [other forms of] servitude, Carpio said.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Jan. 30, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Indigenous Mexico

Indigenous women are marginalized in Mexican society. Comprising 15-to30 percent of the population, they and their underage daughters make up an estimated 45% of all human trafficking victims in the Aztec nation (Mexico).

Voces del pueblo indígena

México-. La situación de asimetría y desigualdad ha hecho que históricamente los pueblos indígenas en México sean marginados y excluidos de los procesos de toma de decisiones en el país.

En la actualidad, con una población que se acerca a los 16 millones de habitantes, de ellos más de mitad mujeres, de acuerdo con estimados de la Movimiento Indígena Nacional (MIN), estos grupos se localizan, fundamentalmente en los estados de Yucatán (59 por ciento) y Oaxaca (48 por ciento).

También en Quintana Roo (39), Chiapas (28), Campeche (27), Hidalgo (24), Puebla (19), Guerrero (17), San Luis Potosí (15) y Veracruz (15).

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Voices of indigenous peoples

Conditions of inequality have historically resulted in the indigenous peoples being marginalized and excluded from the decision making process in Mexico.

Today, with their population is approaching 16 million people. Over half of them are women, according to estimates from the National Indigenous Movement (MIN). These groups are located mainly in the states of Yucatan (where they are 59% of the state's total population) and Oaxaca (where they are 48%).

The indigenous population is also significant in several other states: Quintana Roo (39%), Chiapas (28%), Campeche (27%), Hidalgo (24%), Puebla (19%), Guerrero (17%), San Luis Potosi (15%) and Veracruz (15%).

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Deisy Francis Mexidor

Prensa Latina


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Agents save 13 from sex slavery in Mexican bar

The city of San cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas state - Investigators say they have rescued a group of 13 women and girls, mostly from Central America, who were forced to have sex with clients at a bar in southern Mexico.

Chiapas state prosecutor Miguel Hernandez says at least half of the 13 women were minors, and 10 were from Central America.

Hernandez and other agents raided the bar in the town of Teopisca Saturday and arrested the manager, 42-year-old Mauri Diaz, on human trafficking, prostitution and corruption of minors charges.

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The Associated Press

Feb. 4, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico unravels child trafficking ring

Zapopan - The Irish couples ensnared in an apparent illegal adoption ring in western Mexico thought they were involved in a legal process and are devastated by allegations organisers were trafficking in children, the families said.

"All the families have valid declarations to adopt from Mexico as issued by the Adoption Authority of Ireland," they said in a statement, which was read over the phone to The Associated Press by their lawyer in Mexico, Carlos Montoya.

Prosecutors in Mexico contend the traffickers tricked destitute young Mexican women trying to earn more for their children and childless Irish couples desperate to become parents.

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News24

Jan. 24, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico / Central America

Rescatan a centroamericanos víctimas del tráfico de personas

Some 73 undocumented Central Americans have been located and rescued by army units after being held in 'safe houses' that were presumably owned by human traffickers.

El Ejército mexicano encontró a 73 inmigrantes indocumentados en presuntas casas de traficantes de personas en el nororiental estado de Tamaulipas, informó el jueves la Secretaría de la Defensa.

La acción se realizó el martes en la ciudad de Reynosa "de manera coordinada, simultánea y sorpresiva" y permitió la detención de cuatro personas. Entre los indocumentados, cuyas nacionalidades no se dieron a conocer, había 18 menores de edad, informó DPA.

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Central American human trafficking victims are rescued

Se trata de 73 indocumentados localizados por el ejército en casas que presuntamente pertenecen a traficantes de seres humanos.

The Mexican army has found 73 illegal immigrants in alleged human trafficking safe houses located in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, the Secretary of Defense announced Thursday.

The action took place on Tuesday in the city of Reynosa "in a coordinated suprise raid" that led to the arrest of four people. Among the undocumented, whose nationalities were not released, there were 18 children.

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El Universal

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

The World

UNODC: The Role of Corruption in Trafficking in Persons

The UNODC report focuses on the close interrelation between corruption and human trafficking, critiquing existing international legal instruments that deal only indirectly with this problem, and providing recommendations on how to strengthen these tools.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime outlines the impetus for its report:

Trafficking in persons and corruption are closely linked criminal activities, whose interrelation is frequently referred to in international fora. Yet, the correlation between the two phenomena, and the actual impact of corruption on trafficking in persons, are generally neglected in the development and implementation of anti-human trafficking policies and measures. This lack of attention may substantially undermine initiatives to combat trafficking in persons and prevent the customization of responses as needed. Only after recognizing the existence and the effects of corruption in the context of human trafficking, can the challenges posed by it be met.

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Insight Crime

Feb. 13, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Oklahoma Human Trafficking Operation May Have Ties To Mexican Cartels

Oklahoma City - We're learning more about a human trafficking operation busted last week in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It appears to have ties to a Mexican human trafficking ring, which are said to be some of the most violent and brutal.

A search warrant obtained by News 9 reveals a victim of human trafficking, who was rescued in Tulsa, said she was also held against her will in Oklahoma City.

She told investigators she was held at the apartments off S.W. 59th Street and Harvey during the first part of January, and that she and others were forced to have sex with multiple strange men.

Read the full article

Adrianna Iwasinski

Oklahoma News 6

Feb. 06, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Pretenden regular pornografía en Baja California

Baja california es uno de los estados que ofrece más turismo sexual en México, es por esto que el Partido Encuentro Social presentará este mes una iniciativa ante el Congreso del Estado para que las compañías proveedoras de internet regulen el consumo de la pornografía.

La iniciativa pretende regular el uso de internet en el aparto de Gobierno y el sector educativo, además el que vende internet debe cuidar el acceso de los menores el uso de la pornografía reveló el presidente Estatal del PES, Javier Peña García.

“Es una iniciativa ciudadana, pero estamos invitando a las diferentes fracciones de los partidos a que se adhieran en esto para que salga en común acuerdo con todos los partidos de Baja California”, adelantó.

Lea el artículo completo

Legislators work to regulate online pornography in Baja California state

Baja California is one states that offers the most sex tourism in Mexico, which is why the Social Encounter Party will, later this month, present a proposal to the State Congress that will require Internet service provider companies to regulated the consumption of pornography.

The initiative seeks to regulate Internet use in government agencies and in the education sector. The measure will also insist that companies that provide Internet services take measures to limit that access of minors to pornography. which also sells Internet access to take care of children using pornography revealed the leader of the state branch of the Social Encounter Party (PES), Javier García Peña.

"It's a citizens' initiative, but we are inviting the different political parties in Baja California to agree to this so that we may present a common front on the issue," he stated.

Read the full article

Uni Rdio Informa

Feb. 13, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Bolivia

In Bolivia, Many Indigenous Communities Turn to Vigilantism to Fight Crime

If a man kills another man in the harsh high plains of Jesús de Machaca or the lush lowlands of Beni, the people who catch him might not call the police. Instead they might call a meeting.

Far from courthouses and police stations that may not know their languages, and despite having no jails to lock up criminals, remote villagers in Bolivia have quietly kept justice in their own hands for centuries, handling everything from malicious gossip to murder. They have demanded fines, doled out whippings, even banished people from the pueblo. These community courts have sometimes been criticized for trampling on human rights, especially when it comes to the rights of women, but indigenous leaders say they work better for them than the regular system.

To press a case in the ordinary courts, “you must hire a lawyer and spend money on paperwork,” says Justina Vélez, who represents Pando, the northernmost province of Bolivia, in an organization of female peasants named for the indigenous hero Bartolina Sisa. “All the courthouses are located in the main cities.… The indigenous authorities are right here where we live.”

Read the full article

Emily Alpert

Indian Country Today

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Mexico Official Admits Some Areas Out of Government Control

At a military ceremony yesterday, Mexican Defense Minister Guillermo Galvan Galva described the national security situation in stark terms. “Clearly, in some sectors of the country public security has been completely overrun,” said Galvan, adding that “it should be recognized that national security is seriously threatened.” He went on to say that organized crime in the country has managed to penetrate not only society, but also the country’s state institutions.

Galvan also endorsed the military’s role in combating insecurity, asserting that although they have a responsibility to acknowledge that “there have been mistakes,” the armed forces have an “unrestricted” respect for human rights.

InSight Crime Analysis

Read the full article

Geoffrey Ramsey

InSight Crime

Feb. 10, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Operan 47 redes de trata de personas en México

Diputados piden a los tres órdenes de gobierno crear políticas adecuadas en la materia

La Cámara de Diputados pidió a los tres órdenes de gobiernos que combatan de manera integral el delito de trata de personas, debido a que en México operan al menos 47 redes que se dedican a este ilícito, de acuerdo con datos de la Red Nacional de Refugios.

Según cifras de la red, al año hay 800 mil adultos y 20 mil menores víctimas de este delito cuyas ganancias oscilan entre los 372 mil millones de pesos.

Las rutas incluyen los estados de Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero y Quintana Roo, así como países centroamericanos como Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador.

Lea el artículo completo

Some 47 human trafficking networks are operating in Mexico

Congressional deputies ask the three branches of government to develop adequate policies to address human trafficking

Mexico's Lower House of Congress has asked the three branches of government (legislative, judicial and executive) to integrate their efforts to fight human trafficking, given that at least 47 trafficking networks exist in the nation, according to data released by the National Network of Refuges.

According to the Network, some 800,000 adults and 20,000 children are entrapped by modern human slavery each year, resulting in criminal earnings of some 372 million Mexican pesos ($28 million US dollars).

Trafficking routes exist in the Mexican states of Veracruz, Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Quintana Roo, as well as in Central American countries including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Read the full article

Israel Navarro and José Luis Martínez

Milenio

Feb. 05, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Costa Rica

Costa Rica lags in sex-trafficking fight

“Mariel” became a victim of sex trafficking at the age of 17. She managed to escape, but still suffers anxiety and fear. Rahab Foundation is helping her recover.

“Mariel” fears that she will be kidnapped again.

At 17, she was lured into human trafficking by an acquaintance with the promise of work. Her captor used false documents to take her from Costa Rica across the border to Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

Read the full article

Dominique Farrell

The Tico TImes

Jan. 27, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Costa Rica

La pornografía infantil existe en Costa Rica

Adultos sedientos de sentir y tocar la piel de un cuerpo junto al suyo, deseosos de pagar sumas de dinero por alquilar un rato de confort, quizás hasta hacer una película o tomar unas fotos, pero no de cualquier cuerpo ni de cualquier persona, sino de un niño o una niña costarricense.

La explotación sexual comercial -también llamada prostitución infantil- es un flagelo social que existe en Costa Rica y se concentra mayoritariamente en las zonas fronterizas y las costas, según cuentan organizaciones no gubernamentales que han dado seguimiento a los casos esta ha desembocado en una riada de producción de pornografía infantil en la que se utilizan niños y niñas costarricenses.

Según Rocío Rodríguez directora de Alianza por tus Derechos, en la actualidad las zonas más plagadas de casos –tanto de explotación sexual comercial como de pornografía- son Puntarenas, Guanacaste y Limón.

Lea el artículo completo

Child pornography exists in Costa Rica

Hungry adults feel and touch the skin of a body against thiers, eager to pay money to rent a bit of comfort, perhaps even make a movie or take some pictures, but not of any body or any person, but a boy or a girl in Costa Rica.

Commercial sexual exploitation, which is also known as child prostitution, is a social scourge that exists in Costa Rica. It is concentrated along the nation's borders and coasts, accourding to non governmental organizations who support victims. This reality has led to a flood in the production of child pornography that exploits Costa Rican children.

According to Rocio Rodriguez director of the NGO Alliance for your Rights (Alianza por tus Derechos), the cities of Puntarenas, Guanacaste and Limón are the regions that are the most plagued by both commercial sexual exploitation and pornography.

Read the full article

Daniela Araya

Costa Rica Hoy

Feb. 16, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Arrestan a pastor por violar niñas

De la secta Sendero de Luz.. Abusó de ellas durante años con la complacencia de sus padres

Delicias, Chihuahua.- Años de un sufrimiento en silencio fueron vividos por dos niñas desde que tenían 11 años de edad, pues un pastor de la denominada Iglesia Sendero de Luz les decía que "para ser siervas de Dios tenían que hacerle todo lo que les indicara", y eso incluía tener relaciones sexuales con él, acciones de las cuales aparentemente su padres estaban enterados.

Las familias de ambas sabían lo que pasaba con el religioso, pero su fanatismo les impedía actuar en su contra, según las jóvenes de ahora 22 años de edad, quienes comentaron que los abusos comenzaron desde el año 2001 y continuaron durante 9 años, hasta que se mudaron a la capital de estado.

Tras la denuncia impuesta por parte de las afectadas, agentes investigadores detuvieron mediante una orden de aprehensión a José Manuel Herrera Lerma, de 59 años, líder del grupo religioso previamente señalado.

Lea el artículo completo

Pastor is arrested on charges of child rape

Path of Light sect leader abused two girls over a number of years with the knowledge of the victim's parents

The city of Delicias in Chihuahua state - Two girls suffered years of sexual abuse in silence, from the time they were age 11, at the hands of their church pastor. The reverend of the Path of Light church told the girls that, "to be servants of God they had to do everything that he told them to do," and that included having sex with him. The parents were apparently aware of the pastor's behavior with their daughters.

The families of both girls knew what was happening with the pastor, but their religious fervor prevented them from acting against him. The victims, who are now both age 22, have stated that the abuse began in 2001 and continued for 9 years, until [the family] moved to the state capital.

In response to the complaint filed by the victims, investigative agents served an arrest warrant on José Manuel Herrera Lerma, age 59.

Read the full article

Marisol Marín

oem.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Children in Mexican adoption scam show signs of sexual abuse

Ten children were seized by authorities in the western Mexican city of Guadalajara after they uncovered the apparent child trafficking scam last weekend.

Eleven Irish couples hoping to adopt children in the country have been caught up in the investigation.

“There are four children who show signs of having been abused (sexually), perhaps not in a violent way but there are signs (of abuse),” the Jalisco state attorney general Tomas Coronado told reporters today.

Read the full article

TheJournal.ie

Jan. 12, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Ecuador

148 millones invirtió el Gobierno en implementación de tres mil centros infantiles

Como parte de este proceso, 242 profesionales entre sicopedagogas, parvularias, tecnólogas en educación y especialistas en desarrollo infantil se incorporaron al trabajo en la provincia costera del Guayas, luego de un periodo de selección y capacitación.

Alrededor de 500 mil niños en Ecuador, entre 0 y 5 años, son atendidos por el Ministerio de Inclusión Económica y Social (MIES), en los Centros del Buen Vivir y el programa “Creciendo con nuestros hijos”.

La ministra de Inclusión Económica y Social, Ximena Ponce, indicó que el desarrollo infantil es uno de los seis proyectos de inversión prioritarios del gobierno del presidente Rafael Correa.

La meta es implementar un profesional por cada Centro para garantizar una conducción técnica en sus tres componentes: salud, educación y protección, especialmente en niños de 0 a 3 años.

Lea el artículo completo

Government invests $148 million to implement 3,000 children's centers across the country

As part of the initiative, 242 professionals have joined the effort in the key coastal province of Guayas

About 500,000 children, from newborns to age 5 are served by Ecuador's Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), through its Good Living Centers and by way of its program "Growing with our children."

Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion Ximena Ponce indicated that child development is one of six priority investment projects for the government of President Rafael Correa.

The goal is to provide one professional worker for each center to ensure technical leadership in its three focus areas: health, education and protection. The initiative is especially geared toward assisting children from 0 to 3 years of age.

Read the full article

eldiario.com.ec

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Guatemala

Former Guatemala dictator to give testimony in genocide trial

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt will be made to testify at his genocide trial, according to a statement by judicial officials on Saturday. Rios Montt was in control of Guatemala from 1982 to 1983 as a result of a coup and is being charged with crimes against humanity and genocide during his rule. He was protected from prosecution until this month because he was serving in congress. Rios Montt said he would cooperate with the court [EFE report, in Spanish]. The case involves at least 1,771 deaths and 1,400 human rights violations during the 36-year Guatemalan Civil War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] with much of the violations occurring during Rios Montt's rule.

The Guatemalan civil war resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, mostly among Guatemala's large indigenous Mayan population. According to a UN report [text, in Spanish] released in 1999, the military was responsible for 95 percent of those deaths. In response to these violations, the Guatemalan government founded the National Compensation Program (PNR) in 2003 to deal with claims by civilians affected by the civil war. The PNR, after setting up its administrative structure, has begun to use its $40 million budget to work through a backlog of more than 98,000 civilian complaints. Four former soldiers and two former police officers [JURIST reports] have already been convicted in relation to these crime. Spain attempted to extradite Rios Montt [JURIST report] in 2008, but failed due to a lack of jurisdiction.

Read the full article

Matthew Pomy

Jurist

Jan. 22, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Mexico

Dictan prisión contra tres hombres por trata de personas en Chiapas

Un juez penal dictó auto de formal prisión por el delito de trata de personas en contra de tres hombres que operaban un bar clandestino en San Cristóbal de las Casas, donde fueron rescatadas cuatro menores víctimas.

La Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (PGJE) informó que los presuntos responsables Abraham “N”, propietario del negocio, el encargado Rosendo “N” y el vigilante Diego “N”, son procesados en el centro penitenciario ” El Amate”.

Agentes de la Fiscalía Especializada en Asuntos Relevantes ejecutaron un operativo en el bar ” La Sirena”, donde rescataron a cuatro menores, sometidas a trata de personas y corrupción de menores.

En el sitio fueron sorprendidos también dos menores de edad que ingerían alcohol, lo que constituye una violación a las leyes de salud.

Lea el artículo completo

Three men are sentenced to prison in [the southern border state of] Chiapas

I jusdge has sentenced three men to prison on human trafficking charges who operated a clandestine bar in the cisty of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Four minors had been rescued from the bar.

The Office of the Chiapas State Attorney General (PGJE) has announced that three suspects, Abraham "N," a bar owner, bar manager Rosendo "N" and a guard, Diego "N," have been detained and sent to the "El Amate" prison.

Agents of the Special Prosecutor's Office for Relevant Issues executed an operation at the bar "La Sirena" (the Siren), where they rescued four children who had been subjected to the crimes of human trafficking and the corruption of minors.

The authorities also encountered two other youth who were drinking alcohol in violation of health laws.

Read the full article

Provincia.com.mx

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Peru

Piden cadena perpetua para acusado de violar a 15 menores en 2009

La directora del Programa Nacional contra la Violencia Familiar y Sexual, Ana María Mendieta, exhortó hoy al Poder Judicial a aplicar la pena máxima de cadena perpetua a Óscar Visalot, acusado de abusar sexualmente de 15 menores de edad en 2009.

Este pedido contra Visalot, quien fue capturado en octubre de 2010, surge ante la posible excarcelación del acusado por exceso de carcelería, precisó la funcionaria de ese programa perteneciente al Ministerio de la Mujer y Poblaciones Vulnerables (Mimp).

“Exhortamos al Poder Judicial, a la Primera Sala de Reos en Cárcel de Lima y a las autoridades penitenciarias a que el procesado sea trasladado a Lima y se le dicte una sentencia ejemplar de cadena perpetua”, sostuvo Mendieta.

Lea el artículo completo

Officials ask for a life sentence for a man accused in 2009 of the rape of 15 minors

The director of the National Programme Against Family and Sexual Violence (PNCVFS), Ana Maria Mendieta, today urged the judiciary to apply the maximum penalty of life imprisonment in the case of Oscar Visalot, accused of sexually abusing 15 minors in 2009.

The request to have Visalot, who was captured in October 2010, sentenced promptly arose from the fact that the defendant is being considered for release from prison due to a determination that the has spent an excessive amount of time in detention, said Mendieta, an official of the PNCVFS, which is a program under the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP).

"We urge the Judiciary, the First Board of Inprisoned Inmates in Lima and the prison authorities to transport the prisoner to Lima and [that the Court] hand down a sentence of life imprisonment," said Mendieta.

Read the full article

Andina.com.pe

Feb. 08, 2012


Added: Mar. 14, 2012

Ohio, USA

Man guilty of raping girl in 2005

Hamilton - The adoptive parents of a young girl raped and kidnapped by Butler County’s former “most wanted” fugitive say their daughter can finally start “healing from the nightmare she suffered at the hands of this monster.”

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for three hours Wednesday before deciding “Mario” Lopez-Cruz was guilty of one count of kidnapping and four counts of rape for his attack on a 9-year-old Hamilton girl on Fathers Day 2005.

Lopez-Cruz faces life in prison without parole until he spends 10 years in prison on the rape charges and up to 10 years on kidnapping. Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth will sentence him March 15.

Read the full article

Denise G. Callahan

The Oxford Press

Feb. 01, 2012



A sample of other important news stories and commentaries



Added: Aug. 05, 2011

About sex trafficker's war against indigenous children in Mexico

LibertadLatina Commentary

Indigenous women and children in Mexico

During the over ten years that the LibertadLatina project has existed, our ongoing analysis of the crisis of sexual abuse in the Americas has lead us to the conclusion that our top priority should be to work to achieve an end to the rampant sex trafficking and exploitation that perennially exists in Mexico. Although many crisis hot spots call out for attention across Latin America and the Caribbean, working to see reform come to Mexico appeared to be a critical first step to achieving major change everywhere else in the region.

We believe that this analysis continues to be correct. We also recognize the fact that the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia are other emergency zones of crisis. We plan to expand our coverage of these and other issues as resources permit.

Mexico is uniquely situated among the nations of the Americas, and therefore requires special attention from the global effort to end modern human slavery.

Mexico:

  • Is the world's largest Spanish speaking nation

  • Includes a long contiguous border with the U.S., thus making it a transit point for both 500,000 voluntary (but vulnerable) migrants each year as well as for victims of human slavery

  • Has multi-billion dollar drug cartels that profit from Mexico's proximity to the U.S. and that are today investing heavily in human slavery as a secondary source of profits

  • Has a 30% indigenous population, as well as an Afro-Mexican minority, both of whom are marginalized, exploited and are 'soft targets' who are now actively being cajoled, and kidnapped by trafficking mafias into lives of slavery and death

  • Has conditions of impunity that make all impoverished Mexicans vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking

  • Has a child sex tourism 'industry' that attracts many thousands of U.S., European and Latin American men who exploit vulnerable, impoverished children and youth with virtual impunity

  • Is the source of the largest contingent of foreign victims of human slavery who have been trafficked into the U.S.

  • Has a large and highly educated middle class which includes thousands of women who are active in the movement to enhance human rights in general and women's rights in particular

  • Has a growing anti-trafficking movement and a substantial women's rights focused journalist network

  • Has a politically influential faction of socially conservative men who believe in the sexist tenants of machismo and who favor maintaining the status quo that allows the open exploitation of poor Mexicans and Latin American migrants to continue, thus requiring assistance from the global movement against human exploitation to help local activists balance the scales of justice and equality

For a number years LibertadLatina's commentaries have called upon Mexico's government and the U.S. State Department to apply the pressure that is required to begin to change conditions for the better. It appears that the global community's efforts in this regard are beginning to have impact, yet a lifetime of work remains to be done to end what we have characterized as a slow-moving mass gender atrocity.

Recent developments in Mexico are for the most part encouraging.

These positive developments include:

  • The March 31, 2011 resignation of Attorney General Arturo Chávez Chávez (who had earlier failed to address the crisis of femicide murders facing women in Ciudad Juarez as Chihuahua state attorney general)

  • The replacement of Chávez Chávez with Marisela Morales Ibáñez as the nation’s first female attorney general (Morales Ibáñez was recently honored by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton)

  • Morales Ibáñez’ reform-motivated purge of 174 officials and employees of the attorney general’s office, including the recent resigna-tions of 21 federal prosecutors

  • Morales Ibáñez’ recent raid in Cuidad Juárez, that resulted in the arrests of 1,030 suspected human traffickers and the freeing of 20 underage girls

  • The recent appointment of Dilcya Garcia , a former Mexico City prosecutor who achieved Mexico's first trafficking convictions to the federal attorney general's office (Garcia was recently honored by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her anti-trafficking work)

  • The July, 2010 replacement of Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont with José Francisco Blake Mora. (Secretary Gómez Mont openly opposed the creation of strong federal anti-trafficking legislation.)

  • Success by President Calderón and the Congress of the Republic in achieving the first steps to bringing about a constitutional amendment to facilitate human trafficking prosecutions

  • Recent public statements by President Calderon imploring the public to help in the fight against human trafficking

  • Some progress in advancing legislation in Congress to reform the failed 2007 federal anti trafficking law, a reform effort that has been lead by Deputy Rosi Orozco

  • The active collaboration of both the U.S. Government and the United Nations Office eon Drugs and Crime in supporting government efforts against trafficking

Taken together, the above actions amount to a truly watershed moment in Mexico’s efforts to address modern human slavery. We applaud those who are working for reform, while also recognizing that reform has its enemies within Congress, government institutions, law enforcement and society.

Mexico’s key anti-trafficking leaders, including journalist and author Lydia Cacho, Teresa Ulloa (director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean - CATW-LAC), and Congresswoman Rosi Orozco of the ruling National Action Party (PAN) have all raised the alarm in recent months to indicate that corrupt businessmen, politicians and law enforcement authorities continue to pressure Mexican society to maintain a status quo that permits the existence of rampant criminal impunity in relation to the exploitation of women, children and men. The fact that anti-trafficking activist Lydia Cacho continues to face credible deaths threats on a regular basis and must live with armed guards for 24 hours a day is one sobering indicator of this harsh reality.

The use of slavery for labor and sexual purposes has a solid 500 years of existence in Mexico and much of the rest of Latin America. Indigenous peoples have been the core group of victims of human exploitation from the time of the Spanish conquest to the present. This is true in Mexico as well as in other nations with large indigenous populations such as Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. African descendants are also victims of exploitation - especially in Colombia, and like indigenous peoples, they continue to lack recognition as equal citizens.

These populations are therefore highly vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation due to the fact that the larger societies within which they live feel no moral obligation to defend their rights. Criminal human traffickers and other exploiters take advantage of these vulnerabilities to kidnap, rape, sex traffic and labor traffic the poorest of the poor with little or no response from national governments.

A society like Mexico - where even middle class housewives are accustomed to treating their unpaid, early-teen indigenous girl house servants to labor exploitation and verbal and physical violence – and where the men of the house may be sexually abusing that child – is going to take a long time to adapt to an externally imposed world view that says that the forms of exploitation that their conquistador ancestors brought to the region are no longer valid. That change is not going to happen overnight, and it is not going to be easy.

Mexico’s current efforts to reform are to be applauded. The global anti-trafficking activist community and its supporters in government must, however remain vigilant and demand that Mexico continue down the path toward ending its ancient traditions of tolerated human exploitation. For that transformation to happen effectively, indigenous and African descendant Mexicans must be provided a place at the table of deliberations.

Although extending equality to these marginalized groups is a radical concept within the context of Mexican society, we insist that both Mexico, the United States State Department (a major driver of these reforms in Mexico) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC - another major driver in the current reforms) provide the social and political spaces that will be required to allow the groups who face the most exposure to exploitation to actually have representation in both official and NGO deliberations about their fate at the hands of the billion dollar cartels and mafias who today see them as raw material and 'easy pickings' to drive their highly lucrative global slavery profit centers.

Without taking this basic step, we cannot raise Mexico’s rating on our anti-trafficking report card.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011

Updated Aug. 11,2011

Note: Our August 4/5, 2011 edition contains a number of stories that accurately describe the nature of the vulnerabilities that indigenous children and women face from modern day sex traffickers, pedophiles and rapists.

See also:

Added: Aug. 1, 2010

An editorial by anti trafficking activist Lydia puts the spotlight on abusive domestic work as a form of human slavery targeting, for the most part, indigenous women and girls

Mexico

Esclavas en México

México, DF, - Cristina y Dora tenían 11 años cuando Domingo fue por ellas a la Mixteca en Oaxaca. Don José Ernesto, un militar de la Capital, le encargó un par de muchachitas para el trabajo del hogar. La madre pensó que si sus niñas trabajaban con “gente decente” tendrían la posibilidad de una vida libre, de estudiar y alimentarse, tres opciones que ella jamás podría darles por su pobreza extrema.

Cristina y Dora vivieron en el sótano, oscuro y húmedo, con un baño improvisado en una mansión construida durante el Porfiriato, cuyos jardines y ventanales hablan de lujos y riqueza. Las niñas aprendieron a cocinar como al patrón le gustaba. A lo largo de 40 años no tuvieron acceso a la escuela ni al seguro social, una de las hermanas prohijó un bebé producto de la violación del hijo del patrón. Les permitían salir unas horas algunos sábados, porque el domingo había comidas familiares. Sólo tres veces en cuatro décadas les dieron vacaciones, siendo adultas, para visitar a su madre enferma...

Slaves in Mexico

[About domestic labor slavery in Mexico]

Mexico City – Cristina and Dora were 11-years-old when Domingo picked them up in the state of Oaxaca. José Ernesto, a military man living in Mexico City, had sent Domingo to find a pair of girls to do domestic work for him. The girls’ mother thought that if they had an opportunity to work with “decent people,” they would have a chance to live a free life, to study and to eat well. Those were three things that they she could never give them in her condition of extreme poverty.

Cristina and Dora lived in the dark and humid basement of a mansion built during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz (1876 to 1910). Their space had an improvised bathroom. Outside of the home, the mansion’s elaborate gardens and elegant windows presented an image of wealth and luxury. The girls learned to cook for the tastes of their employer.

It is now forty years later. Cristina and Dora never had access to an education, nor do they have the right to social security payments when they retire. One of the sisters had a child, who was the result of her being raped by one of their employer’s sons.

They are allowed out of the house for a few hours on Saturdays. On Sundays they had to prepare family meals for their patron (boss).

Today, some 800,000 domestic workers are registered in Mexico. Ninety three percent of them don’t have access to health services. Seventy Nine percent of them have not and will not receive benefits. Their average salary is 1,112 pesos($87.94) per month. More than 8% of these workers receive no pay at all, because their employers think that giving them a place to sleep and eat is payment enough.

Sixty percent of domestic workers in Mexico are indigenous women and girls. They began this line of work, on average, at the age of 13. These statistics do not include those women and children who lived locked-up in conditions of extreme domestic slavery.

Mexico’s domestic workers are vulnerable to sexual violence, unwanted pregnancies, exploitation, racism and being otherwise poorly treated…

Recently, the European Parliament concluded that undocumented migrant women face an increased risk of domestic labor slavery. In Mexico, the majority of domestic slaves are Mexicans. Another 15% of these victims are [undocumented] migrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. Their undocumented status allows employers to prohibit their leaving the home, prohibit their access to education or deny their right to have a life of their own. The same dynamics happen to Latina women in the United States and Canada.

For centuries [middle and upper class white Mexican women] became accustomed to looking at domestic labor slavery as something that ‘helps’ indigenous women and girls. We used the hypocritical excuse that we were lifting them out of poverty by exploiting them. [They reality is that] millions of these women and girls are subjected to work conditions that deny them access to education, healthcare, and the enjoyment of a normal social life.

We (Mexico’s privileged) men and women share the responsibility for perpetuating this form of slavery. We use contemptuous language to refer to domestic workers. Like other forms of human trafficking, domestic labor slavery is a product of our culture.

Domestic work is an indispensable form of labor that allows millions of women to work. We should improve work conditions, formally recognize it in our laws, and assure that in our homes, we are not engaging in exploitation cloaked in the idea that we are rescuing [our domestic workers] from poverty.

To wash, iron, cook and care for children is as dignified as any other form of work. The best way for us to change the world is to start in own homes.

“Plan B” is a column written by Lydia Cacho that appears Mondays and Thursdays in CIMAC, El Universal and other newspapers in Mexico.

Lydia Cacho

CIMAC Women's News Agency

July 27, 2010


Added: Aug. 4, 2011

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina applaud U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the U.S. Justice Department and all of the agencies and officers involved in Operation Delego, which shut down a grotesque  international child pornography network that glorified and rewarded the torture and rape of young children. We also wish you good hunting in taking down all child pornography rings, wherever they may exist.

We call attention to a recent story (posted on Aug. 4, 2011) on the rape with impunity of indigenous school children, from very young ages, in the nation's now-closed Indian boarding school system. The fact that the legislature of the state of South Dakota passed legislation that denies victims the right to sue the priests and nuns who raped them is just as disgusting as any of the horror stories that are associated with the pedophile rapist / torturers who have been identified in Operation Delego.

Yet neither the U.S. Justice Department nor the Canadian government, where yet more horrible sexual abuses, and even murders of indigenous children took place, have ever sought to prosecute the large number of rapists involved in these cases.

In addition, federal prosecutors drop a large number of rape cases on Indian reservations despite the fact that indigenous women face a rate of rape in the U.S. that is 3.5 times higher that the rate faced by other groups of women. White males are the perpetrators of the rape in 80% of these cases.

When former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales fired eight U.S. attorneys in December of 2006, it turned out that 5 of those targeted had worked together to increase the very low prosecution rates for criminal cases on Native reservations. Their firings did a disservice to victims of rape and other serious crimes in Indian Country.

The indigenous peoples of the Americas demand an end to the rampant sexual exploitation with impunity of our peoples, be they from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Bolivia, Peru or Canada.

We expect the United Stated Government to set the tone and lead the way in that change in social values.

Time is of the essence!

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Aug. 05, 2011


Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit, at Wheelock College

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, speaks

Wheelock professor and anti pornography activist Dr. Gail Dines, and survivor and activist Cherie Jimenez speak at Wheelock

LibertadLatina's Chuck Goolsby speaks up to represent the interests of Latin American and indigenous victims at Wheelock College

Wheelock College anti-trafficking event

Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking

This event is part of Wheelock's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

Speakers:

•Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police Human Trafficking Unit and the Massachusetts Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking. She is a sergeant detective of the Boston Police Department.

•Cherie Jimenez, who used her own experiences in the sex trade to create a Boston-area program for women

•Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

•Gail Dines, Wheelock professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and chair of the American Studies Department

Wheelock College

March 30, 2011

See also:

Added: Apr. 17, 2011

Massachusetts, USA

Wheelock College to discuss Massachusetts sex trafficking

Wheelock College is set to hold a panel discussion on the growing sex trafficking in Massachusetts.

The discussion, titled "Stopping the Pimps, Stopping the Johns: Ending the Demand for Sex Trafficking," is scheduled for Wednesday and will feature area experts and law enforcement officials.

Those scheduled to speak include Donna Gavin, commander of the Boston Police human trafficking unit and the Massachusetts task force to combat human trafficking.

Experts believe around 14,000 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. every year, including those from Latin America, Asia and Africa.

The panel is part of the Brookline school's sixth annual "Winter Policy Talks."

The Associated Press

March 30, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

On March 30, 2011 Wheelock College in Boston presented a forum that explored human trafficking and ways to end demand. Like many human trafficking gatherings held around the world, the presenters at this event provided an empathetic and intelligent window into current thinking within the different interest groups that make up this movement. Approximately 40 college students and local anti-trafficking activists attended the event.

Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) spoke about current human trafficking conditions around the world. Pornography abolitionist Dr. Gail Dines of Wheelock presented a slide show on pornography and its link to the issue of prostitution demand. Survivor Cherie Jimenez told her story of over 20 years facing abuse at the hands of pimps, and her current efforts to support underage girls in prostitution. Detective Donna Gavin discussed the Boston Police Department’s efforts to assist women and girls in prostitution, including the fact that her department’s vice operations helping women in prostitution avoid criminal prosecution to the extent possible.

The presentation grew into an intelligent discussion about a number of issues that the presenters felt were impacting the effectiveness of the movement. Among these issues were perceptions on the part of Dr. Dines that a number of activists in the human trafficking movement have expressed pro-pornography points of view. She added that the great majority of college students in women’s programs with whom she talks express a pro-pornography perspective. Panelists also expressed the view that many men who lead anti-trafficking organizations also have a pro-pornography viewpoint.

Cherie Jimenez shared her opinion that U.S. born victims do not get as much visibility and attention relative to foreign born victims. She emphasized that victims from all backgrounds are the same, and should be treated as such.

Jimenez emphasized that much of her work as an activist focuses on helping young women who, at age 18, leave state supported foster care, and must then survive on their own. She emphasized that foster care is a broken system that exposes underage girls to routine sexual abuse. CATW’s Ramos, who was a victim of that system herself, agreed.

Ramos, head of the global Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Sexual Exploitation (CATW), emphasized that men who operate in the arena of anti sex trafficking activism must be accountable to women activists, because the issue was a gender issue. She also stated that she approached the human trafficking issue from an indigenous world view.

In response to a question from a Latina woman about services for transgender youth, Detective Gavin of the Boston Police Department stated that they have not run into sex trafficking cases involving males. Norma Ramos did note that sex trafficked male youth did exist in significant numbers in the New York City area.

During the question and answer period of the forum, I spent about 15 minutes discussing the issue of human trafficking from the Latin American, Latin Diaspora and indigenous perspectives.

* I noted that as a male anti-trafficking activist, I have devoted the past dozen years of that activism to advocating for the voiceless women and girls in Latin America, the United States and in advanced nations of the world in Europe and Japan where Latina and indigenous victims are widely exploited.

* I pointed out that within the Boston area as elsewhere within the United States, the brutal tactics of traffickers, as well as the Spanish/English language barrier, the cultural code of silence and tolerance for exploitation that are commonplace within Latin immigrant communities all allow sex trafficking to flourish in the Latin barrios of Boston such as East Boston, Chelsea, Everett and Jamaica Plain.

* I also mentioned that during the current climate of recession and increased immigration law enforcement operations, Latina women and girls face a loss of jobs and income, and a loss of opportunities to survive with dignity, which are all factors that expose them to the risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

* I mentioned that the sex trafficking of women and girls in Latin America focuses on the crisis in Mexico, which, I stated was the epicenter of sex trafficking activity in the Americas.

* I stated that the U.S. anti-trafficking movement cannot make any progress while it continues to treat the sex trafficking crisis in Mexico as a secondary issue.

* I mentioned that Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), was a stellar activist who has provided the vanguard of leadership in anti sex trafficking activism in the region. I added that Ulloa recently promoted statistics developed by the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, that state that 25% of the Gross Domestic Product across all Latin American nations is derived from human trafficking.

* I mentioned that a number of years ago, I called-on my local police department to enforce the law and arrest an adult man who was severely sexually harassing an 11-year-old Latina girl. These two officers told me in a matter of fact way that they could not respond to what the county Police Academy had taught them (in cultural sensitivity classes there) was just a part of Latino culture.

As is the case in most public events that I attend that address the crisis in human trafficking, the issue of Latina and indigenous victims (who are the majority of U.S. victims) would not have been discussed in detail without the participation of LibertadLatina.

The event was an enlightening experience. My perception is that both the activists and the audience were made aware of the dynamics of the crisis of mass gender atrocities that women and children are facing in Latin America, the Caribbean and in their migrant communities across the globe.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

April 17, 2011


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

Mexico

This map shows the number of types of child slavery that occur in the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean

Indigenous children are the focal point for underage sex and labor slavery in Mexico

Around 1.5 million children do not attend school at all in Mexico, having or choosing to work instead. Indigenous children are often child laborers. Throughout Central and South America, indigenous people are frequently marginalized, both economically and socially. Many have lost their traditional land rights and they migrate in order to find paid work. This can in turn make indigenous peoples more vulnerable to exploitative and forced labor practices.

According to the web site Products of Slavery.org, child slavery, especially that which exploits indigenous children, is used to generate profits in the following industries in Mexico:

* The production of Child Pornography

* The production of coffee, tobacco, beans, chile peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, onions, sugarcane and tomatoes - much of which is sold for export

Key facts about Mexican child sex and labor exploitation defined on the Product of Slavery:

* Many indigenous children in Mexico aged between seven and 14 work during the green bean harvest from 7am until 7pm, meaning they cannot attend school.

* Amongst Mexico's indigenous peoples, 86% of children, aged six years and over, are engaged in strenuous physical labor in the fields six days a week working to cultivate agricultural produce such as chile peppers.

* Indigenous child labor keeps costs of production down for Mexican companies as boys and girls from indigenous families are frequently denied recognition of their legal status as workers, charged with the least skilled tasks, such as harvesting cucumbers, and so receive the lowest pay.

* Child labor is widespread in Mexico's agricultural sector; in 2000, it was discovered that 11 and 12 year olds were working on the family ranch of the then-President elect, Vicente Fox, harvesting onions, potatoes, and corn for export to the United States.

[I know a couple of U.S. ICE agents who can add 'another paragraph' to the above statement - LL.]

* Mexican children who are exploited by the sex industry and involved in activities such as pornography and prostitution suffer physical injuries, long-term psychological damage with the strong possibility of developing suicidal tendencies and are at high risk of contracting AIDS, tuberculosis and other life-threatening illnesses.

* There are strong links between tourism and the sexual exploitation of children in Mexico; tourist centers such as Acapulco, Cancun and Tijuana are prime locations where thousands of children are used in the production of pornographic material and child prostitution is rife.

* Mexican street children are vulnerable to being lured into producing pornographic material with promises of toys, food, money, and accommodation; they then find themselves prisoners, locked for days or weeks on end in hotel rooms or apartments, hooked on drugs and suffering extreme physical and sexual violence.

* David Salgado was just eight years old when he was crushed by a tractor as he went to empty the bucket of tomatoes he had just collected on the Mexican vegetable farm where he worked with his family. The company paid his funeral expenses but refused to pay compensation to his family as David was not a formal employee.

The web site explores child enslavement in all of the nations shown in the above map.

Products of Slavery


Added: Feb. 27, 2011

North Carolina, USA

"For Sale" - A composite from a poster announcing Davidson College's recent event on Human Trafficking in Latin America

See the complete poster

Chuck Goolsby speaks at Davidson College

On February 3rd of 2011 I travelled to Davidson College, located in a beautiful community north of Charlotte, North Carolina, to provide a 90 minute presentation on the crisis of sexual slavery in Latin America, and in Latin American immigrant communities across the United States. I thank the members of Davidson's Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) and the Vann Center for Ethics for cosponsoring the presentation, and for their hospitality and hard work in setting up this event.

During my talk I described many of the dynamics of how sexual slavery works in the Americas. I summarized the work of LibertadLatina as one of the few English language voices engaging the world in an effort to place Latin American gender exploitation issues on an equal footing with the rest of the world's struggle against sex trafficking. I covered the facts that:

1) Sexual slavery has long been condoned in Latin America;

2) Community tolerance of sexual exploitation, and a cultural code of silence work to hide crimes of violence against women across the region;

3) The multi-billion dollar pockets of Latin American drug cartels, together with the increasing effectiveness of anti-drug trafficking law enforcement efforts are driving cartel money into major investments in kidnapping, 'breaking-in' and selling underage girls and young women into slavery globally, en mass;

4) Men in poverty who have grown up in [especially rural] cultures where women's equality does not exist, are prime candidates to participate in the sex trafficking industry - this is especially true in locations such as Tlaxcala state, just east of Mexico City, where an estimated 50% of the adults in the La Meca neighborhood of the major city of Tenancingo are involved in sex traffickers;

5) Male traffickers, often from family organized mafias of adults and teens [especially in Tlaxcala], either kidnap women and girls directly, or engage in false romances with potential victims that result in the victim's beating, gang rape and enslavement, getting the victim pregnant - and then leaving the infant with the trafficker's family as a form of bribery [threatening the baby's death if the victim does not continue to submit to forced sexual enslavement;

6) Traffickers typically take their victims from Tlaxcala, to Mexico City, and to Tijuana on the U.S. border - from which they are shipped like merchandise to Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, DC and New York City;

7) Traffickers also bring victims to farm labor camps large and small across the rural U.S.;

8) North Carolina, including the major population centers of Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte are places where Latina immigrant sexual slavery is a major problem (given the rapid growth in the local immigrant population, who see the state as a place with lots of jobs and a low cost of living);

9) Mexico's government is reluctant (to be polite) to engage the issue of ending human trafficking (despite recent presidential rhetoric), as exemplified by the multi-year delay in setting up the regulations and inter-agency collaborations needed to actually enforce the nation's 2007 Law to Prevent and Punish Human Trafficking (note that only in early 2011 has the final element of the legislation been put into place to actually activate the law - which some legislators accurate refer to as a "dead letter.");

10) heroes such as activist Lydia Cacho have faced retaliation and death threats for years for having dared to stand-up against the child sex trafficking networks whose money and influence corrupts state and local governments;

11) it is up to each and every person to decide how to engage in activism to end all forms of human slavery, wherever they may exist.

Virtually everyone in the crowd that attended the event had heard about human trafficking prior to the February 3rd presentation. They left the event knowing important details about the facts involved in the Latin American crisis and the difficulties that activists face in their efforts to speak truth to power and the forces of impunity. A number of attendees thanked me for my presentation, and are now new readers of LibertadLatina.org.

The below text is from Davidson College's announcement for this event.

Slavery is (thankfully) illegal everywhere today. But sadly, it is still practiced secretly in many parts of the world. One persistent form of it occurs when women and girls are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery, sometimes by being kidnapped and trafficked or smuggled across national borders.

Chuck Goolsby has worked tirelessly for decades to expose and end this horrific, outrageous practice. As the founder and coordinator of LibertadLatina, much of his work has focused on sex-trafficking in the Latin American context.  Join us to hear from him regarding the nature and scope of the current problem, and what we can do to help stop it.

We have given similar presentations to groups such as Latinas United for Justice, a student organization located at the John Jay College for Criminal Justice in New York City.

We are available for conferences and other speaking engagements to address the topics of human trafficking in its Latin American, Latin Diaspora, Afro-Latina and Indigenous dimensions.

Please write to us in regard to your event.

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina.org

Feb. 26, 2011


Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Tiffany Williams of the Break the Chain Campaign

Highlighting New Issues in Ending Violence Against Women; More Women Afraid To Come Forward And Access Services

Congressional leaders will participate in an ad-hoc hearing examining violence against immigrant women this Thursday on Capitol Hill Washington, DC—Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Gwendolyn Moore (D-WI) will co-chair an ad-hoc hearing this Thursday afternoon, bearing witness to the testimony of immigrant women and advocates who are speaking out about increasing barriers to ending violence against immigrant women and families. Honorable guests Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) will join the co-chairs.

Maria Bolaños of Maryland will share her personal story. Juana Flores from Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), an immigrant women’s organization in California and the Rev. Linda Olson Peebles from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington will share the perspective of community groups, and legal advocates Leslye Orloff (Legal Momentum) and Miriam Yeung (NAPAWF) will offer testimony in light of the expected 2011 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

WHAT: Ad-hoc hearing on violence against immigrant women

WHEN: Feb. 10, 2011 - 2 pm-3 pm

WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2456

WHO: Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Gwendolyn Moore, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. Napolitano, members of the press, domestic violence advocates, immigrant rights advocates, and other invited guest

Co-Sponsoring Organizations: 9to5, AFL-CIO, Family Values @ Work Consortium, Franciscan Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies, Legal Momentum, MomsRising, Ms. Foundation for Women, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, South Asian Americans Leading Together, United Methodist Women/Civil Rights Initiative, Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

Contact: Tiffany Williams

Tel. (202) 787-5245; Cell (202) 503-8604; E-mail: tiffany@ips-dc.org 

The Institute for Policy Studies / Break the Chains Campaign

Feb. 9, 2011

See also:

Added: Feb. 10, 2011

The United States

Silencing human trafficking victims in America

Women should be able to access victim services, regardless of their immigration status.

Thanks to a wave of anti-immigrant proposals in state legislatures across the nation, fear of deportation and family separation has forced many immigrant women to stay silent rather than report workplace abuse and exploitation to authorities. The courts have weakened some of these laws and the most controversial pieces of Arizona's SB 1070 law have been suspended. Unfortunately, America's anti-immigrant fervor continues to boil.

As a social worker, I've counseled both U.S.-born and foreign-born women who have experienced domestic violence, or have been assaulted by either their employers or the people who brought them to the United States. I'm increasingly alarmed by this harsh immigration enforcement climate because of its psychological impact on families and the new challenge to identify survivors of crime who are now too afraid to come forward.

For the past decade, I've helped nannies, housekeepers, caregivers for the elderly, and other domestic workers in the Washington metropolitan area who have survived human trafficking. A majority of these women report their employers use their immigration status to control and exploit them, issuing warnings such as "if you try to leave, the police will find you and deport you." Even women who come to the United States on legal work visas, including those caring for the children of diplomats or World Bank employees, experience these threats.

Though law enforcement is a key partner in responding to human trafficking, service providers continue to struggle with training authorities to identify trafficking and exploitation in immigrant populations, especially when the trafficking is for labor and not sex. While local human trafficking task forces spend meetings developing outreach plans, our own state governments are undermining these efforts with extremely harsh and indiscriminate crackdowns on immigrants...

Regardless of their legal status, these women are human beings working hard to feed their families. Their home countries' economies have been by shattered by globalization. Our economic system depends on their cheap labor. Yet much of the debate about U.S. borders fails to acknowledge immigrants as people, or appreciate the numerous cultural contributions that ethnic diversity has provided this country. As a result, humane comprehensive immigration reform remains out of reach in Congress.

We're a nation of immigrants and a nation of hard-working families. An economic crisis caused by corporate greed has turned us against each other in desperation and fear. We should band together to uphold our traditional values of family unity, to give law enforcement the tools they need to provide effective victim protection and identification rather than reactionary laws, and ensure that women can access victim services, regardless of immigration status.

Tiffany Williams is the advocacy director for Break The Chain Campaign, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Tiffany Williams

The Huffington Post

Feb. 07, 2011

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Commentary

We at LibertadLatina salute the Break the Chain Campaign and their advocacy director, Tiffany Williams, for bringing voice to the voiceless immigrant working women and girls (underage teens) across the United States. Latin American and other immigrant women routinely face quid-pro-quo sexual demands of "give me sex or get out" from male managers and supervisors across the low-wage service sector of the U.S. economy.

My advocacy for victims of gender violence began with efforts to provide direct victim assistance to Latina women facing workplace gender exploitation in the Washington, DC region. My work included rescuing two Colombian women from the fearful labor slavery that they faced in two diplomatic households in Montgomery County, Maryland, just north of Washington, DC. I also assisted six women in bringing complaints to police and to our local Montgomery County human rights commission (a local processor of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission cases).

Immigrant women have never had free and equal access to the legal system to address these employer abuses. The Break the Chain Campaign rightly identifies the fact that the social and political climate in the U.S. in the year 2011 is creating conditions in which immigrant women and girl victims fear coming forward.

It is encouraging that the Break the Chains Campaign openly identifies the sexual and labor exploitation of immigrant women and girls in domestic and other low wage service jobs as being forms of human trafficking. Ten years ago, local anti-trafficking organizations in the Washington, DC region did not buy into that view of the world.

Conditions have not changed for the better for at-risk immigrant women and girls since we first wrote about this issue in the year 1994 (see below).

These community continues to need our persistent help on this issue.

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Feb. 10, 2011

See also:

LibertadLatina

Our section covering human trafficking, workplace rape and community exploitation facing Latina women and children in the Washington, DC regional area.

See also:

Latina Workplace Rape

Low wage workers face managerial threats of 'give me sex or get out!' across the U.S. and Latin America.

See also:

On the Front Lines of the War Against Impunity in Gender Exploitation

Government, corporations and the press ignored all of these victims cases in which Chuck Goolsby intervened directly  during the 1990s.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 1  

Workplace Rape with Impunity

A major corporation working on defense and civilian U.S. government contracts permitted quid-pro-quo sexual demands, sexual coercion and retaliatory firings targeted at Latina adult and underage teen cleaning workers.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 2

Workplace Assault and Battery with Impunity

A Nicaraguan indigenous woman cleaning worker was slapped across the chest and knocked to the floor by her manager in the Rockville offices of a federal agency, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The local Maryland State's Attorney's Office repeatedly pressured the victim (through calls to Chuck Goolsby) to drop her insistence on having her assailant prosecuted.

Rockville, Maryland - Case 3 

About the One Central Plaza office complex

Workplace Rape and Forced Prostitution with Impunity

Over a dozen women were illegally fired for not giving in to the sexual demands of three Latino cleaning crew managers who forced women and underage girls into quid-pro-quo sexual relationships as a condition of retaining their jobs. 

Some women were forced to commit acts of prostitution in this office building, that housed Maryland state government and other offices.

A medical doctor who leased office space at One Central Plaza filed a formal complaint with the building owners and stated that he was finding his patient examining tables dirtied by sexual activity after-hours (cleaning managers had keys to access these offices to have them cleaned).

A pregnant woman was severely sexually harassed, and was fired and told to come back after her child was born, when she could be sexually exploited. 

The Montgomery County, Maryland County Human Relations commission in 1995 literally buried the officially filed casework of this pregnant woman and another victim, who had an audio tape of a 20 minute attempt by her manager to rape her.

Both detectives at the Montgomery County Police Department (where I worked part-time during those times) and a team of Washington Post reporters refused to investigate this crisis of workplace impunity.

A Latina Washington Post reporter, when explaining to me why she would not cover the story said, "well, after all, you are trying to accuse these guys (the perpetrators) of felonies." The same reporter stated that her manager would not allow her to cover the story because it was a "dangerous situation."

To this day I continue to ask myself, If it was a dangerous situation, was it not, then, news!

See also:

The above three cases are among those documented in my below report from 1994.

Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.'s 1994 Report on the Sexual Exploitation of Latina immigrant Women and Girls in Montgomery County, Maryland (a suburb of Washington, DC)

The LibertadLatina project grew directly out of these initial efforts to speak truth to the official and criminal impunity in our society that openly targets innocent immigrant women and girls for sexual victimization.


Added: Sep. 29, 2010

India

Human trafficking slur on Commonwealth Games

The jinxed Commonwealth Games could have done without this. After being troubled by brittle infrastructure, CWG 2010 has now been blamed for a jump in trafficking of women and children from the Northeast. The accusation has come from Meghalaya People’s Human Rights Council (MPHRC) general secretary Dino D.G. Dympep. The platform he chose on Tuesday was the general debate discussion on racism, discrimination, xenophobia and other intolerance at the 15th Human Rights Council Session at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The human rights situation of indigenous peoples living in Northeast India is deteriorating,” Dympep said, adding New Delhi has chose to be indifferent to human trafficking of and racial discrimination toward these indigenous groups.

“What worries the indigenous peoples now apart from racial and gender-based violence is the fear of alleged human trafficking for flesh trade.” The number of indigenous women and children trafficked particularly for the upcoming CGW could be 15,000, he said.

The rights activist also underscored the racial profiling of people from the Northeast on the basis of their ethnicity, linguistic, religious, cultural and geographical backgrounds.

Dympep also pointed out 86 per cent of indigenous peoples studying or working away from their native places face racial discrimination in various forms such as sexual abuses, rapes, physical attacks and economic exploitation.

“The UN has condemned India's caste system and termed it worse than racism. The racism faced by indigenous peoples of the Northeast is definitely the outcome of the caste system. Such negative attitude as ignoring the region will only lead to deeper self-alienation by the indigenous peoples, which comes in the way of integration in India,” he said.

Rahul Karmakar

Hindustan Times

Sep. 28, 2010

LibertadLatina Note:

Indigenous peoples across the world face the problem of being marginalized by the dominant societies that surround them. They become the easiest targets for human traffickers because the larger society will not stand up to defend their basic human rights. Exploiting the lives and the sexuality of indigenous women is a key aspect of this dynamic of oppression.

We at LibertadLatina denounce all forms of exploitation. We call the world's attention to the fact that tens of thousands of indigenous peoples in the Americas, and most especially women and girls in Guatemala and Mexico, are routinely being kidnapped or cajoled into becoming victims of human trafficking.

For 5 centuries, the economies of Latin America have relied upon the forced labor and sexual exploitation of the region's indigenous peoples as a cornerstone of their economic and social lives. Mexico, with an indigenous population that comprises 30% of the nation, is a glaring example of this dynamic of racial, ethnic and gender (machismo) based oppression. In Mexico, indigenous victims are not 'visible' to the authorities, and are on nobody's list of social groups who need to be assisted to defend themselves against the criminal impunity of the sex and labor trafficking mafias.

For Mexico to arrive in the 21st Century community of nations, it must begin the process of ending these feudal-era traditions.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Sep. 30/Oct. 02, 2010


Added: Jul. 21, 2010

New York, USA

U.S. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca (second from left) and other presenters at UN / Brandeis conference

Hidden in Plain Sight: The News Media's Role in Exposing Human Trafficking

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University cosponsored a first-ever United Nations panel discussion about how the news media is exposing and explaining modern slavery and human trafficking -- and how to do it better. Below are the transcript and video from that conference, held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on June 16 and co-sponsored by the United States Mission to the United Nations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Take a look as some leading media-makers and policymakers debate coverage of human trafficking. What hinders good reporting on human trafficking? What do journalists fear when they report on slaves and slavery? Why cover the subject in the first place? What are the common reporting mistakes and missteps that can do more harm than good to trafficking victims, and to government, NGO, and individual efforts to end the traffic of persons for others' profit and pleasure?

Among the main points: Panelists urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, "sexy" headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons' lives and experiences. Journalists lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology. As an example, the two officials on the panel -- Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime -- disagreed on the number of rescued trafficking victims. Costa thought the number was likely less than half CdeBaca's estimate (from the International Labour Organization) of 50,000 victims rescued worldwide...

Read the transcript

The Huffington Post

July 15, 2010

See also:

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina Note:

In response to the above article by the Huffington Post, on the topic of press coverage of the issue of human trafficking, we would like to point out that the LibertadLatina project came into existence because of a lack of interest and/or willingness on the part of many (but not all) reporters and editors in the press, and also on the part of government agencies and academics, to acknowledge and target the rampant sexual violence faced by Latina and indigenous women and children across both Latin America and the Latin Diaspora in the Untied States, Canada, and in other advanced economies such as those of western Europe and Japan.

Ten years after starting LibertadLatina, more substantial press coverage is taking place. However, the crisis of ongoing mass gender atrocities that plague Latin America, including human trafficking, community based sexual violence, a gender hostile living environment and government and social complicity (and especially in regard to the region's completely marginalized indigenous and African descended victims - who are especially targeted for victimization), continue to be largely ignored or intentionally untouched by the press, official government action, academic investigation and NGO effort.

Therefore we persist in broadcasting the message that the crisis in Latin America and its Diaspora cannot and will not be ignored.

End impunity now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

July 21, 2010


Added: March 1, 2010

Mexico

Deputy Rosi Orozco watches Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

Video posted on YouTube

Video: Llama Gómez Mont a Visibilizar Delito de Trata de Personas

Video of Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the Feb. 23rd and 24th, 2010 congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking.

[Ten minutes - In Spanish]

Deputy Rosi Orozco

On YouTube.com

Feb. 26, 2010

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

Chuck Goolsby

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

Mexican Interior Secretary Fernando Gómez Mont's presentation at the congressional Forum for Analysis and Discussion in Regard to Criminal Law to Control Human Trafficking has been widely quoted in the Mexican press. We have posted some of those articles here (see below).

The video of Secretary Mont's discourse shows that he is passionate about the idea of raising awareness about human trafficking. He states: "Making [trafficking] visible is the first step towards liberation."

Secretary Mont believes that the solution to human trafficking in Mexico will come from raising awareness about trafficking and from understanding the fact that machismo, its resulting family violence and also the nation's widespread extreme poverty are the dynamics that push at-risk children and youth into the hands of exploiters.

During Secretary Mont's talk he expressed his strongly held belief that federalizing the nation's criminal anti-trafficking laws is, in effect, throwing good money after bad. In his view, the source of the problem is not those whom criminal statutes would target, but the fundamental social ills that drive the problem.

The Secretary's views have an element of wisdom in them. We believe, however, that his approach is far too conservative. An estimated 500,000 victims of human trafficking exist in Mexico (according to veteran activist Teresa Ulloa of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin American and Caribbean branch - CATW-LAC).

A note about the figures quoted to describe the number of child sexual exploitation victims in Mexico...

Widely quoted 'official' figures state that between 16,000 and 20,000 underage victims of sex trafficking exist in Mexico.

We believe that, if the United States acknowledges that 200,000 to 300,000 underage children and youth are caught-up in the commercial sexual exploitation of children - CSEC, at any one time, based on a population of 310 million, (a figure of between .00064 and .00096 percent of the population), then the equivalent numbers for Mexico would be between 68,000 and 102,000 child and youth victims of CSEC for its estimated 107 million in population.

Given Mexico's vastly greater level of poverty, its legalization of adult prostitution, and given that southern Mexico alone is known to be the largest zone in the world for the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), with 10,000 children being prostituted just in the city of Tapachula (according to ECPAT figures), then the total number of underage children and youth caught-up in prostitution in Mexico is most likely not anywhere near the 16,000 to 20,000 figure that was first released in a particular research study from more than five years ago and continues to be so widely quoted today.

Regardless of what the actual figures are, they include a very large number of victims.

While officials such as Secretary Mont philosophize about disabling anti-trafficking law enforcement and rescue and restoration efforts, while instead relying upon arriving at some far-off day when Mexican society raises its awareness and empathy for victims (and that is Mont's policy proposal as stated during the recent trafficking law forum), tens of thousands of victims who are being kidnapped, raped, enslaved and sold to the highest bidder need our help. They need our urgent intervention. As a result of their enslavement, they typically live for only a few years, if that, according to experts.

The reality is that the tragic plight of victims can and must be prevented. Those who have already been victimized must be rescued and restored to dignity.

That is not too much to ask from a Mexico that calls itself a member of civilized society.

Mexico exists at the very top of world-wide statistics on the enslavement of human beings. Save the Children recognizes the southern border region of Mexico as being the largest zone for the commercial sexual exploitation of children on Planet Earth.

Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, Japanese Yakuza mafias and the Russian Mob are all 'feeding upon' (kidnapping, raping, and exporting) many of  the thousands of Central and South American migrant women who cross into Mexico. They also prey upon thousands of young Mexican girls and women (and especially those who are Indigenous), who remain unprotected by the otherwise modern state of Mexico, where Roman Empire era feudal traditions of exploiting the poor and the Indigenous as slaves are honored and defended by the wealthy elites who profit (economically and sexually) from such barbarism.

Within this social environment, the more extreme forms of modern slavery are not seen as being outrageous by the average citizen. These forms of brutal exploitation have been used continuously in Mexico for 500 years.

We reiterate our view, as expressed in our Feb. 26th and 27th 2010 commentary about Secretary Mont.

Interior Secretary Mont has presided over the two year delay in implementing the provisions of the nation's first anti-trafficking law, the Law to Prevent, and Punish Human Trafficking, passed by Congress in 2007.

  • The regulations required to enable the law were left unpublished by the Interior Secretary for 11 months after the law was passed.

  • When the regulation were published, they were weak, and left out a role for the nation's leading anti-trafficking agency, the Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women and Human Trafficking in the Attorney General's office (FEVIMTRA).

  • The regulations failed to target organized crime.

  • The Inter-Agency Commission to Fight Human Trafficking, called for in the law, was only stood-up in late 2009, two years after the law's passage, and only after repeated agitation by members of Congress demanding that President Calderón act to create the Commission.

  • Today, the National Program to Fight Human Trafficking, also called for in the 2007 law, has yet to be created by the Calderón administration.

  • In early February of 2010, Senator Irma Martínez Manríquez stated that the 2007 anti-trafficking law and its long-sought regulations were a 'dead letter' due to the power of impunity that has contaminated the political process.

All of the delaying tactics that were used to thwart the will and intent of Congress in passing the 2007 anti-trafficking law originated in the National Action Party (PAN) administration of President Felipe Calderón. All aspects of the 2007 law that called for regulations, commissions and programs were the responsibility of Interior Secretary Mont to implement. That job was never performed, and the 2007 law is now accurately referred to as a "dead letter" by members of Congress.

Those of us in the world community who actively support the use of criminal sanctions to suppress and ultimately defeat the multi-billion dollar power of human trafficking networks must come to the aid of the many political and non governmental organization leaders in Mexico who are working to create a breakthrough, to end the impasse which the traditionalist forces in the PAN political machine have thrown-up as a gauntlet to defeat effective anti-trafficking legislation.

Interior Secretary Mont's vision for the future, which involves continuing on a course of complete inaction on the law enforcement front, must be rejected as a capitulation to the status quo, and as a nod to the traffickers.

While "Little Brown Maria in the Brothel" - our metaphor for the voiceless victims, suffers yet another day chained to a bed in Tijuana, Acapulco, Matamoros, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico City, Tlaxcala, Tapachula and Cancun, the entire law enforcement infrastructure of Mexico sits by and does virtually nothing to stop this mass gender atrocity from happening.

That is a completely unacceptable state of affairs for a Mexico that is a member of the world community, and that is a signatory to international protocols that fight human trafficking and that defend women and children's human rights.

We once again call upon U.S. Ambassador at Large Luis CdeBaca, director of the Trafficking in Persons office at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama to stand-up and speak out with the moral authority of the United States in support of the forces of change in Mexico.

Political leaders and non governmental organizations around the world also have a responsibility to speak-up, and to let the government of President Felipe Calderón know that the fact that his ruling party (finally) supported presenting a forum on trafficking, and the holding of a few press conferences, is not enough of a policy turn-around to be convincing.

The PAN must take strong action to aggressively combat the explosive growth in human slavery in Mexico in accordance with international standards. Those at risk, and those who are today victims, await your effective response to their emergency, President Calderón.

Enacting a 'general' federal law that is enforceable in all of Mexico's states would be a good fist step to show the world that sincere and honest voices against modern day slavery do exist in Congress, and are willing to draw a line in the sand on this issue.

As for Secretary Mont, we suggest, kind sir, that you consider the age-old entrepreneurial adage, and either "lead, follow, or get out of the way" of progress.

No more delays!

There is no time to waste!

End impunity now!

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 1, 2010

See Also:

Mexico

Víctimas del tráfico de personas, 5 millones de mujeres y niñas en América Latina

De esa cifra, más de 500 mil casos ocurren en México, señalan especialistas.

Five million victims of Human Trafficking Exist in Latin America

Saltillo, Coahuila state - Teresa Ulloa Ziaurriz, the director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women's Latin American / Caribbean regional office, announced this past Monday that more than five million women and girls are currently victims of human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During a forum on successful treatment approaches for trafficking victims held by the Women's Institute of Coahuila, Ulloa Ziaurriz stated that 500,000 of these cases exist in Mexico, where women and girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation, pornography and the illegal harvesting of human organs.

Ulloa Ziaurriz said that human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, a fact that has given rise to the existence of a very large number of trafficking networks who operate with the complicity of both [corrupt] government officials and business owners.

Mexico is a country of origin, transit and also destination for trafficked persons. Of 500,000 victims in Mexico, 87% are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation.

Ulloa Ziaurriz pointed out that locally in Coahuila state, the nation's human trafficking problem shows up in the form of child prostitution in cities such as Ciudad Acuña as well as other population centers along Mexico's border with the United States.

- Notimex / La Jornada Online

Mexico City

Dec. 12, 2007

See also:

Mexico: Más de un millón de menores se prostituyen en el centro del país: especialista

Expert: More than one million minors are sexually exploited in Central Mexico

Tlaxcala city, in Tlaxcala state - Around 1.5 million people in the central region of Mexico are engaged in prostitution, and some 75% of them are between 12 and 13 years of age, reported Teresa Ulloa, director of the Regional Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean...

La Jornada de Oriente

Sep. 26, 2009

[Note: The figure of 75% of 1.5 million indicates that 1.1 million girls between the ages of 12 and 13 at any given time engage in prostitution in central Mexico alone. - LL]


LibertadLatina

Analysis of the political actions and policies of Mexico's National Action Party (PAN) in regard to their detrimental impact on women's basic human rights


A child in prostitution in Cancun, Mexico  stands next to a police car with an adult john.

About Child Sexual Slavery in Mexico

Thousands of foreign sex tourists arrive in Cancun daily from the U.S., Canada and Europe with the intention of having sex with children, according to a short documentary film by a local NGO (see below link). Police and prosecutors refuse to criminalize this activity.

This grotesque business model, that of engaging in child sex tourism, exists along Mexico's entire northern border with the U.S., along Mexico's southern border with Guatemala [and Belize], and in tourist resorts including Acapulco, Cancun and Veracruz. Thousands of U.S. men cross Mexico's border or fly to tourist resorts each day to have sex with minors.

Unfortunately, Mexico's well heeled criminal sex traffickers have exported the business model of selling children for sex to every major city as well as to many migrant farm labor camps across the U.S.

Human trafficking in the U.S. will never be controlled, despite the passage of more advanced laws and the existence of ongoing improvements to the law enforcement model, until the 500-year-old 'tradition' of sexual slavery in Mexico is brought to an end.

The most influential political factions within the federal and state governments of Mexico show little interest in ending the mass torture and rape of this innocent child population.

We must continue to pressured them to do so.

End Impunity now!

See also:

The Dark Side of Cancun - a short documentary

Produced by Mark Cameron and Monserrat Puig

2007

About the case of Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva

Our one page flyer about Jacqueline Maria Jirón Silva (Microsoft Word 2003)


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

Award-winning anti-child sex trafficking activist, journalist, author and women's center director Lydia Cacho

Muertes por violencia en México podrían ser plan de limpieza social: Cacho

Especialistas indagan si asesinatos vinculados con el crimen son una estrategia del Estado, dijo.

Madrid. Las muertes por violencia en México en los últimos años, 15 mil en los últimos tres años, podrían formar parte de un plan de "limpieza social por parte del Estado mexicano", declaró este lunes en Madrid la periodista mexicana Lydia Cacho….

Deaths from violence in Mexico could be the results of social cleansing: Lydia Cacho

Specialists are investigating whether murders are state strategy, Cacho says.

Madrid. Deaths from violence in Mexico in recent years, including 15,000 during the past three years, could form part of a plan of "social cleansing by the Mexican State," declared Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho in Madrid, Spain on Monday.

"Experts are beginning to investigate at this time in Mexico whether these 15,000 murders are linked to intentional social cleansing by the Mexican State," Cacho said in a press conference in which she denounced human rights violations and persecution of the press in her country.

Since President Felipe Calderón [became president] three years ago, we have been witnessing a growing authoritarianism in Mexico "justified by the war " (on drugs), in which " militari-zation, and harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is increasing danger-ously," stated Cacho.

Cacho was kidnapped [by rogue state police agents] and tortured in Mexico after divulging information about a pedophile ring in which businessmen and politicians were involved.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) will determine in an upcoming decision whether Mexican authorities violated the rights of the journalist in that case.

The foundation that bears Cacho's name, created in Madrid a year ago, is organizing a concert to raise funds to help pay for her defense before the IACHR...

Cacho is the author of [the child sex trafficking exposé] The Demons of Eden. In recent years she has received several awards for her work on behalf of human rights carried out through investigative journalism, including the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award.

Agence France Presse (AFP)

Nov. 23, 2009

See also:

Mexican Government Part of Problem, Not Solution, Writer Says

Madrid - A muckraking Mexican journalist known for exposes of pedophile rings and child prostitution said on Monday that President Felipe Calderón’s bloody campaign against Mexico’s drug cartels is “not a battle for justice and social peace.”

Lydia Cacho, who has faced death threats and judicial persecution for her writings, told a press conference in Madrid that Mexico’s justice system is “impregnated with corruption and impunity.”

Accompanied by the head of the Lydia Cacho Foundation, Spanish screenwriter Alicia Luna; and Madrid Press Association President Fernando Gonzalez Urbaneja, the author said the nearly three years since Calderón took office have seen increased “authoritarianism” and harassment of journalists and human rights advocates.

The period has also witnessed “15,000 documented killings,” Cacho said, exceeding the carnage in Colombia at the height of that country’s drug wars.

“Specialists are beginning to investigate if those 15,000 killings are linked with intentional social cleansing on the part of the Mexican state,” she said.

Calderón, she noted, “insists on saying that many of those deaths are collateral effects and that the rest are criminals who kill one another.”

“It is a war among the powerful and not a battle for justice and social peace,” she said of the military-led effort against drug cartels, which has drawn widespread criticism for human rights abuses.

Cacho also lamented “self-censorship” in the highly concentrated Mexican media, saying that many outlets color their reporting to avoid trouble with the government and other powerful interests.

A long-time newspaper columnist and crusader for women’s rights, Lydia Cacho became famous thanks to the furor over her 2005 book “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), which exposed wealthy pedophiles and their associates in the Mexican establishment.

In the book, she identified textile magnate Kamel Nacif as a friend and protector of accused pedophile Jean Succar Kuri, who has since been sent back to Mexico from the United States to face charges.

Nacif, whose business is based in the central state of Puebla, accused Cacho of defamation - a criminal offense - in Mexico and arranged to have her arrested for allegedly for ignoring a summons to appear in court for the case.

In February 2006, Mexican dailies published transcripts of intercepted phone conversations in which Nacif was heard conspiring with Puebla Governor Mario Marin and other state officials to have Cacho taken into custody and then assaulted behind bars.

The transcripts indicated that Nacif, known as the “denim king” for his dominance of the blue-jeans business, engineered the author’s arrest by bribing court personnel not to send her the requisite summonses.

Cacho was subsequently released on bail and the case against her was ultimately dismissed.

EFE

Nov. 24, 2009

See Also:

LibertadLatina

Special Section

Journalist / Activist

Lydia Cacho is

Railroaded by the

Legal Process for

Exposing Child Sex

Networks In Mexico

See Also:

Perils of Plan Mexico: Going Beyond Security to Strengthen U.S.-Mexico Relations

Americas Program Commentary

Mexico is the United States' closest Latin American neighbor and yet most U.S. citizens receive little reliable information about what is happening within the country. Instead, Mexico and Mexicans are often demonized in the U.S. press. The single biggest reason for this is the way that the entire binational relationship has been recast in terms of security over the past few years...

The militarization of Mexico has led to a steep increase in homicides related to the drug war. It has led to rape and abuse of women by soldiers in communities throughout the country. Human rights complaints against the armed forces have increased six-fold.

Even these stark figures do not reflect the seriousness of what is happening in Mexican society. Many abuses are not reported at all for the simple reason that there is no assurance that justice will be done. The Mexican Armed Forces are not subject to civilian justice systems, but to their own military tribunals. These very rarely terminate in convictions. Of scores of reported torture cases, for example, not a single case has been prosecuted by the army in recent years.

The situation with the police and civilian court system is not much better. Corruption is rampant due to the immense economic power of the drug cartels. Local and state police, the political system, and the justice system are so highly infiltrated and controlled by the cartels that in most cases it is impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

The militarization of Mexico has also led to what rights groups call "the criminalization of protest." Peasant and indigenous leaders have been framed under drug charges and communities harassed by the military with the pretext of the drug war. In Operation Chihuahua, one of the first military operations to replace local police forces and occupy whole towns, among the first people picked up were grassroots leaders - not on drug charges but on three-year old warrants for leading anti-NAFTA protests. Recently, grassroots organizations opposing transnational mining operations in the Sierra Madre cited a sharp increase in militarization that they link to the Merida Initiative and the NAFTA-SPP [North American Free Trade Act - Security and Prosperity Partnership] aimed at opening up natural resources to transnational investment.

All this - the human rights abuses, impunity, corruption, criminalization of the opposition - would be grave cause for concern under any conditions. What is truly incomprehens-ible is that in addition to generating these costs to Mexican society, the war on drugs doesn't work to achieve its own stated objectives...

Laura Carlsen

Americas Program, Center for International Policy (CIP)

Nov. 23, 2009


Added: Dec. 03, 2009

Mexico

The Numbers Don't Add Up in Mexico's Drug War

Drug Seizures are Down; Drug Production, Executions, Disappearances, and Human Rights Abuses are Up

Just a week before Mexican president Felipe Calderón completes half of his six-year term, [leading Mexico City newspaper] La Jornada reports that 16,500 extrajudicial executions [summary murders outside of the law] have occurred during his administration. 6,500 of those executions have occurred in 2009, according to La Jornada’s sources in Calderón’s cabinet...

While executions are on the rise, drug seizures are down, and drug production is up, Mexico is also experiencing an alarming increase in human rights abuses perpetrated by government agents - particularly the army - in Calderón’s war on drugs. As Mexican human rights organizations have noted, human rights violations committed by members of the armed forces have increased six-fold over the past two years. This statistic is based on complaints received by the Mexican government’s official National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

No Mas Abusos (No More Abuses), a joint project of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center, the Fundar Center for Analysis and Investigation, and Amnesty International’s Mexico Section, monitors human rights abuses committed by soldiers, police, and other government agents.

Kristin Bricker

Dec. 1, 2009

See also:

LibertadLatina News Archive - October 2009

El Paso - …Mexican human rights official Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson [has] reported 170 instances of Mexican soldiers allegedly torturing, abusing and killing innocent people in Chihuahua [state].

The Associated Press

Oct. 17,2009

See also:

LibertadLatina Commentary

According to press reports from Mexico, the Yunque secret society is the dominant faction within the ruling National Action party (PAN).

El Yunque holds the belief that all social activists, including those who advocate for improving the lives of women, indigenous people and the poor, are literally the children of Satan. They take aggressive political action consistent with those beliefs.

During the 1960s, El Yunque perpetrated political assassi-nations and murders targeting their opponents. Although today they profess to adhere to the political process to affect change, it is not a stretch, given their violent history, to conclude that Lydia Cacho's concern, that the federal government of Mexico may be engaging in 'social cleansing through "extrajudicial killings" (which is just a fancy way to say state sanctioned murder of your opponents), may be valid. Cacho is a credible first hand witness to the acts of impunity which government officials use at-times to control free and independent thinking in Mexico. 

We have documented the steady deterioration  of human rights for women in Mexico for several years. Mexico is one of the very hottest spots for the gender rights crisis in the Americas.

The systematic use by military personnel of rape with total impunity, targeting especially indigenous women and girls, is one example of the harshness of  these conditions. The case of the sexual assaults carried out by dozens of policemen against women social protesters in the city of Atenco, Mexico in 2006 is another stark case.

The Mérida Initiative, through which the U.S. Government is funding Mexico's drug war to the tune of $450 million over several years, is financing not only that war, but it is also, apparently, strengthening the authoritarian rule of the El Yunque dominated PAN political party.

El Yunque, which has been identified as being an anti- women's rights, anti-indigenous rights,  anti-Semitic, anti-protestant and anti-gay 'shadow government' in Mexico, does not deserve even one dollar of U.S. funding.

Defeat the drug cartels?

Yes!

Provide funding for El Yunque's quest to build empire in Mexico while rolling-back women and indigenous people's basic human rights?

No!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 4, 2009

About El Yunque

The National Organization of the Anvil, or simply El Yunque (The Anvil), is the name of a secret society... whose purpose, according to the reporter Alvaro Delgado, "is to defend the [ultra-conservative elements of the] Catholic religion and fight the forces of Satan, whether through violence or murder "and establish" the kingdom of God in the land that is subject to the Mexican Government, to the mandates of the Catholic Church, through the infiltration of all its members at the highest levels of political power.

Wealthy business-men and politicians (mostly from the [ruling] National Action Party) have been named as alleged founders and members of The Anvil.

About El Yunque on Wikipedia.com



¡Feliz Día Internacional

de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina Statement for International

Women's

Day, 2010



March 8 / Marzo 8

2009


¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer!

Happy International Women's Day!

LibertadLatina

Nuestra declaración de 2005 Día Internacional de la Mujer es pertinente hoy en día, y define bien la emergencia hemesferica que enfrentan las mujeres y en particular as niñas de todas las Américas.

Pedimos a todas las personas de conciencia que siguimos trabajando duro para inform al público en general acerca de esta crisis, y que aumentamos nuestra presión popular sobre los funcionarios electos y otros encargados de tomar decisiones, que deben cambiar el statu quo y responder con seriadad, por fin, a las   atrocidades de violencia de género -en masa- que afectan cada vez mas a las mujeres y las niñas de las Américas.

¡Basta ya con la impunidad y la violencia de genero!


LibertadLatina

Our 2005 statement for International Women's Day is relevant today, and accurately defines the hemispheric emergency facing women and especially girl children in the Americas.

We ask that all people of conscience work hard to continue informing the general public about this crisis, and that we all ramp-up the pressure  on elected officials and other decision makers, who must change the status quo and respond, finally, to the increasingly severe mass gender atrocities that are victimizing women and girls across the Americas.

End Impunity and violence against women now!

Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

March 8, 2008



LibertadLatina

Raids and Rescue Versus...?

Read our special section on the human rights advocacy conflict that exists between the goals of the defense of undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation on the one hand, and the urgent need to protect Latina sex trafficking victims through law enforcement action...

...As the global economic crisis throws more women and children into severe poverty, and as ruthless trafficking gangs and mafias seek to increase their profits by kidnapping, raping, prostituting and murdering more women and girls (especially non-citizen migrants passing through Mexico to the U.S.), the level of sex trafficking activity will increase dramatically. 

Society must respond and protect those who are at risk...

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

Dec. 18, 2008


Read our special section on the crisis in the city of Tapachula

Mexico

The city of Tapachula, located in Chiapas state near Mexico's border with Guatemala, is one of the largest and most lawless child sex trafficking markets in all of Latin America.

Our new news section tracks  events related to this hell-on-earth, where over half of the estimated 21,000 sex slaves and other sex workers are underage, and where especially migrant women and girls  from Central and South America, who seek to migrate to the United States, have their freedom taken from them, to become a money-making commodity for gangs of violent criminals.

A 2007 study by the international organization ECPAT [End Child Prostitution and Trafficking]... revealed that over 21,000 Central Americans, mostly children, are prostituted in 1,552 bars and brothels in Tapachula.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina



See: The National Network to End Violence Against Immigrant Women

And: La Alianza Latina Nacional para Erradicar la Violencia Doméstica.

The National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence


Added June 15, 2008

Ending Global Slavery: Everyday Heroes Leading the Way

Humanity United and Change-makers, a project of Ashoka International,  are conducting a global online competition to identify innovative approaches to exposing, confronting and ending modern-day human slavery.

View the over 200 entries from 45 nations

See especially:

Teresa Ulloa: Agarra la Onda Chavo", Masculini-dad, Iniciación Sexual y Consumo de la Prostitución ('Get It Together Young Man: Masculinity, Sexual Initiation and Consumption of Prostitution).

Equidad Laboral Y La Mujer Afro-Colombiana

(Labor Equality and the Afro-Colombian Woman)

Alianza Por Tus Derechos, Costa Rica: Our borders: say no to traffick-ing of persons, specially children

(APTD's news feed is a major source of Spanish language news articles translated and posted on LibertadLatina).

Prevención de la migración temprana y fortalecimiento de los lazos familiares en apoyo a las Trabajadoras del Hogar en Ayacucho

(Preventing early migration and re-enforcing families)... serving women in Quechua and Spanish in largely Indigenous Ayacucho, Peru.

LibertadLatina.org contributor Carla Conde - Freuden-dorff, on her work assisting Dominican women trafficked to Argentina

LibertadLatina

Our entry:

A Web-based Anti-Trafficking Information Portal in Defense of Indigenous, Afro-Descend-ent & Latina Women in the Americas

We present our history, plans for the future, and an essay discussing the current state of the anti-traffick-ing and anti-exploitation movements in the context of Indigenous, African Desc-endent and Latina women and children's rights in the Americas.

(Our extended copy of our Ashoka competition application)

Contribute your comments and questions about competition entries.

- Chuck Goolsby

LibertadLatina

June 15/21/22, 2008

See also:

Added June 15, 2008

The World

Entrepreneur for Society

Bill Drayton discusses the founding of Ashoka... "Our job is not to give people fish, it's not to teach them how to fish, it's to build new and better fishing industries."

- Ashoka Foundation

See also:

Ashoka Peru


Mexico

A woman is paraded before Johns on Mexico City's Santo Tomás Street, where kidnap victims are forced into prostitution and are 'trained'

(C) NY Times

The Girls Next Door

The New York Times' ground-breaking story on child and youth sex trafficking from Mexico into the United States

Excerpt:

[About Montserrat, a former child trafficking victim:]

Her cell of sex traffickers offered three age ranges of sex partners -- toddler to age 4, 5 to 12 and teens -- as well as what she called a ''damage group.'' ''In the damage group they can hit you or do anything they wanted...''

- Peter Landesman

New York Times Magazine

January 25, 2004


Added March 23, 2008

Mexico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Un millón de menores latinoamericanos atrapados por redes de prostitución

Former Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women - Alicia Elena Perez Duarte:

At least one million children across Latin America have been entrapped by child prostitution and pornography networks.

[In many cases in Mexico] these child victims are offered to [wealthy] businessmen and politicians.

Full story (in English)

See also:

Renuncia fiscal por vergüenza en resolución sobre Cacho

On December 14, 2007 Alicia Pérez-Duarte resigned as Mexico's Special Prosecutor for Violent Crimes Against Women [Fevim].  Duarte:

"I cannot work... where the justices of the Supreme Court won't bring justice in cases of grave violations of human rights."


Added March 1, 2008

Texas, USA

Kristal Minjarez - age 13, Armida Garcia - 15, and Brenda Salazar - 20... all raped and murdered by Andy James Ortiz

To Catch a Killer is the true story of Andy James Ortiz, his young victims, and the Fort Worth police and Tarrant County prosecutors who brought him to justice. The 24 chapter series ran in February and March of 2008.


Tengo 5 meses de edad y soy prostituta

I am 5 months old and I am a prostitute

LibertadLatina

Read our  section on the prostitution of infants by trafficking gangs across Latin America


About Baby Trafficking and [undocumented] Adoptions, and the connection to impunity and anti-Mayan racism in Guatemala



Hurricane Wilma - 2005

Earthquakes and hurricanes...

The impact of natural disasters on women and children's human rights in the Americas


Video

Roundtable on Trafficking of Women and Children in the Americas

- Organization of American States


United States

More than 163,000 Hispanic children... are reported missing and exploited in the United States every year.

- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

March 22, 2006


Latin America

Beyond Machismo - A Cuban Case Study

"I am a recovering macho, a product of an oppressive society, a society where gender, race and class domination do not exist in isolated compart-ments, nor are they neatly relegated to uniform categories of repression. They are created in the space where they interact and conflict with each other, a space I will call machismo."

- Cuban-American

theologian and ethicist

Dr. Miguel de la Torre

Remember, and FIND Jackeline Jirón Silva

Necesitamos su ayuda para ubicar a esta Niña.


Added Dec. 11, 2006

The World

Sex abuse, work and war deny childhood to tens

of millions

...An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year for labor or sex, and about 1 million children are thought to be exploited in the multi-billion dollar sex industry, UNICEF says.

- Reuters

Dec. 9, 2006

Added Nov. 7, 2006

The World

People trafficking ...is... big business, bringing in US $32 billion annually, worldwide. This makes people trafficking the most lucrative crime after drug trafficking.

- Inter-American

Development Bank
 Nov. 2,2006


"Familia" by Salvadoran
artist Zelie Lardé. (1901-1974)

Who will protect them from impunity?

We Must!

We work for all of the children and women who await our

society's effective and substantial help to escape criminal

sexual exploitation's utter brutality and impunity!

End Impunity... Now!

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Charles M. Goolsby, Jr.

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