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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 Q through Z

QATAR (Tier 2)

Qatar is a destination country for women who are put into situations of coerced labor, where they may endure physical abuse or other extreme working conditions. Victims come primarily from East Asia, South Asia, and Africa to work as domestic servants. They often have their passports withheld, contracts altered, and suffer non-payment of salaries. Qatar is also a destination country for boys trafficked from Sudan and to a lesser extent Pakistan and Bangladesh as camel jockeys.

The Government of Qatar does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government is strongest in preventing domestic servitude and protecting victims. The government needs to take additional steps to prevent the use of children in camel jockey races.

Prevention
The government works actively with labor attaches from South Asian countries to resolve cases of labor contract disputes and cases involving the abuse of domestic servants. Strict controls on immigration and willingness to enforce labor contracts have for the most part prevented sex trafficking and forced labor. The government runs a 24-hour hotline staffed by the Ministry of Interior and Supreme Council for Family Affairs personnel to advise and assist women and children in abusive situations. The Camel Racing Association established a new minimum weight for jockeys to minimize the chances that children would be involved in these races. There are planned increases in minimum weight for the coming racing seasons. Banning children in the camel racing industry outright would be the most effective method of preventing children from being used as camel jockeys.

Prosecution
Qatari law specifically prohibits trafficking in persons. In addition, in 2002 the government passed a new money laundering law, in which Article 2 specifically defines the handling of money related to trafficking of women and children as a crime. Law enforcement agencies actively investigate allegations of trafficking. Last year two individuals were charged as traffickers; one was found guilty. The Qatari Labor Department charged 105 companies in court for non-payment of wages and maintains a “black list” of companies that have severely violated labor laws or abused their workers. The government strictly monitors its immigration and emigration patterns for evidence of trafficking. Immigration officials refer suspect travel documents or birth certificates establishing family relationships to local embassies for verification. Governmental authorities and individual members of government do not facilitate, condone or act in an otherwise complicit manner in trafficking.

Protection
The government provides assistance to domestics who have suffered from abuse in the form of payment of back wages and repatriation. Runaway domestics are provided shelter by the government in deportation centers. The Qatari Labor Department is active in resolving labor disputes and in ensuring that employers meet contractual obligations. Disputes arise frequently, and the vast majority of problems are resolved through mediation. With the approval of the Ministry of Interior, sponsorship of employees who filed valid complaints of abuse by employers can be transferred without the current employer’s agreement. Employers are required to repatriate workers at the end of their contracts, or earlier if either party wishes to terminate the contract with notice.

ROMANIA (Tier 2)

Romania is a source and transit country primarily for women and girls trafficked from Moldova and Ukraine to Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Greece, Italy, and Turkey for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

The Government of Romania does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Government’s efforts stood out in the past year as it continued to establish itself as a leader in regional law enforcement cooperation and maintenance of comprehensive records. The government showed relative weaknesses in securing final convictions against traffickers, and while it made efforts to root out official corruption, this area needs further improvement, especially among the ranks of law enforcement.

Prevention
All relevant ministries participate in an IOM-coordinated Counter-Trafficking Steering Committee. Together with IOM, the government developed and distributed course materials on trafficking to schools, taught an anti-trafficking course for teachers of various subjects and levels, and conducted mass media prevention campaigns targeting the public at large. A related preventive effort involves a two-year ILO program, supported through international assistance, to alleviate child labor and to keep children in school. The government continues to improve its ability to monitor its borders and keeps statistics on illegal migration and movements of persons.

Prosecution
Trafficking is criminalized pursuant to a special anti-trafficking law prescribing sentences from 3 to 28 years, depending on aggravating factors; however, no convictions were brought under this law during the reporting period. One hundred and fifty persons were convicted for an aggregate 168 offenses under various provisions of the law, and 303 victims were identified during the course of these criminal investigations. A number of related crimes in the criminal code were used to prosecute, convict, and sentence traffickers, such as 190 charges for slavery and 329 for pimping. The Ministry of Interior has a specialized unit devoted to trafficking, migration, and adoption with seven persons at headquarters and investigators in 15 regions throughout the country. The Prosecutor General’s office assigned prosecutors throughout the country specifically to prosecute trafficking and related crimes. The Government of Romania played a substantial role in organizing and coordinating the SECI-led Operation Mirage. Border monitors have procedural guidelines for identifying and responding to trafficking situations, and police interdicted several trafficking operations at the borders. The police have traveled to destination countries on occasion to bring victims home and conduct investigations. In the past year, Romania and France agreed on cooperation on prosecution of child trafficking rings and protection of Roma children trafficked to France.

Protection
The government drafted regulations for implementing the victim protection aspects of the anti-trafficking law. The regulations were finalized in the latter part of the year, but without budget allocations, law enforcement conducted victim referrals and protection during investigations without financial support. Due to some changeovers in the government agencies tasked with anti-trafficking, some NGOs complained that referrals and protection mechanisms suffered. The government provides space and police protection at a refugee center turned trafficking shelter, although the shelter did not operate consistently throughout the year. The government actively assists in preparing documents for repatriations but relies on IOM to carry out repatriations from destination countries. The Government generally respected the legal prohibition against punishing victims for crimes committed through the course of the trafficking. Foreign and domestic victims are provided support services, including rights presentations and legal assistance. Foreign victims’ right to work is regulated per domestic law on work permits and they are free to leave unless they are participating in a criminal proceeding.

RUSSIA (Tier 2)

Russia is a major source country for women trafficked to numerous countries globally for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Russia is also reported to be a transit and destination country for trafficking in persons for sexual and labor exploitation. Reportedly, women from former Soviet countries are transited through Russia to Gulf States, Europe, and North America for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Russia is also increasingly understood as a destination country for labor trafficking both within the former Soviet Union and from neighboring countries. Internal trafficking is also reported to exist.

The Government of Russia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Efforts made in the reporting period will need to be strengthened in light of the scale of the trafficking problem. However, central government officials showed a strong increase in political will to recognize and confront their trafficking problem, and recent efforts to initiate new reforms were positive. Russia’s legal structure still does not allow for effective prosecution of traffickers, nor for victim assistance, and efforts to prosecute traffickers for related crimes have been largely unsuccessful. The Government of Russia must adopt and actively implement both the criminal and protective elements of the proposed legislation, and as a major source country, focus on a nation-wide, effective prevention campaign is also strongly needed.

Prevention
The government did not sponsor a comprehensive anti-trafficking campaign, but engaged in a number of public awareness events, aimed both at the general public and potential victims. The Deputy Chair of the Duma Legislative Committee chaired a legislative working group, which conducted a series of national and international conferences to educate various constituents of the anti-trafficking community and design a national action plan. The working group participated in over 50 press events arranged by the group's press liaison, including placing articles with discussion of trafficking in Russia in major newspapers and magazines, conducting discussions on Russian television and radio, showing a dramatic film on the trafficking of a young Russian girl to a cross-cutting group of public professionals and leaders with educational discussions before and after the film. Regionally, the Governments of Irkutsk and Khabarovsk established anti-TIP commissions which include information-sharing and research, and some regional governments and police sent their officers to trainings offered by NGOs. In one region, Yekaterinburg, the local government encourages its officers to work with the NGOs in prevention programs. The regional response is not directed by the central government and while the geographic immensity of Russia requires a local government approach, it has not been consistent or widespread.

Prosecution
Russia does not currently have anti-trafficking legislation, although it does have legislation against slavery, rape, and falsification of documents. One major obstacle to active investigations and prosecutions has been the weak legal structure related to trafficking crimes, and the small number of investigations conducted in the past year mostly failed for lack of evidence. A high level multi-agency legislative review working group drafted a comprehensive new anti-trafficking draft law criminalizing trafficking in persons and establishing victim assistance and protection. As of April 2003, the criminal trafficking elements were being incorporated into the President’s omnibus criminal code revision while the special law proceeded through readings in Parliament. The government passed a new criminal procedure code which allows greater protections for victims and witnesses in court proceedings, and which allows prosecution in Russia of Russian citizens who engage in crimes abroad, including trafficking-related crimes. The Prosecutor General’s office established a new office on international cooperation mandated to fulfill requests from foreign governments on mutual legal assistance. The Ministry of Internal Affairs cooperated in two ongoing international trafficking investigations with the US, and assisted French law enforcement in investigation of a trafficking ring dismantled in October of 2002. In 2002, the Governments of Russia and the United States conducted a joint operation against child exploitation and trafficking in Russia, resulting in several ongoing investigations in Russia, and some final convictions. Regarding investigations against employment and recruitment agencies, agents of two firms were prosecuted in relation to the preparation of false documents. Police do not respond actively to victims’ complaints pursuant to the belief that any criminally proscribed behavior, such as slavery and rape, mostly happens after victims have left their jurisdiction. In the far eastern region where trafficking from China is a concern, the Ministry of Internal Affairs created a special unit to focus on migration-related crimes and sexual exploitation of migrants, with a particular interest in trafficking. In an effort to decrease the incidence of corruption in the police and judiciary, President Putin quadrupled the salary of judges and doubled the salary of police. The government instituted a Code of Civil Service Behavior also in an attempt to prevent corruption.

Protection
NGO’s active throughout Russia mostly report positive cooperation with local police and government counterparts, but many also report corruption as a major hindrance. The central government does not provide assistance to victims nor does it support NGOs providing assistance, but some regional governments cooperate with local NGOs. Central government authorities did not establish a referral mechanism, but some regional governments did, most notably in the high-risk region of Irkutsk. Current federal law provides mechanisms for victim rights and witness protection during court proceedings, including the right to question the defendant and seek compensation from the defendant without filing a separate civil suit. As trafficking in persons is not yet a prosecutable crime, this cannot yet be measured for trafficking victims. Amendments to witness protection laws will enhance existing protection, and the Ministry of Interior established a new witness protection unit.

RWANDA (Tier 2)

Rwanda is a source country for victims internationally trafficked to South Africa. Internal trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation, particularly of children, occurs. Child prostitution is a serious problem; an international organization estimates that there are 2,140 child prostitutes in the major cities and tens of thousands of street children who are exploited for labor. There were reports that Rwandan-backed Congolese militias operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo abducted men, women, and children for forced labor and sexual exploitation and to serve as combatants in early 2002. Children and young men are abducted from roadsides, markets, and their homes and then trained in military camps.

The Government of Rwanda 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 implement additional sensitization campaigns designed to increase public awareness on the exploitation of children, investigate allegations of exploited children living and working in the streets, and take concrete steps to implement recently ratified international protocols related to trafficking. The government should also discontinue support for its allies that forcibly conscript child soldiers and encourage them to release those abducted from servitude; and punish those officials or soldiers that carry out such recruitments.

Prevention
The government participates in an international program to eliminate the worst forms of child labor and a regional program to prevent children from being involved in armed conflict. As part of the government demobilization of child soldiers, it also began training its military’s officers and enlisted soldiers on child rights to include monitoring and promoting child rights, international and legal instruments that protect children in armed conflicts, provision of assistance to children in armed conflict, and creation of a regional network of military trainers on children’s issues. At least 25 of 100 designated training officers have completed this training. The government is assisting street children with vocational and other educational opportunities. The Ministry of Local Government has organized seminars on child rights for government officials, civil society groups, and police. In collaboration with donors and non-governmental organizations, the government established micro-credit programs for rural women to strengthen their families economically and protect themselves and their children from exploitation.

Prosecution
There is no specific anti-trafficking law, but laws against slavery, prostitution by coercion, kidnapping, rape, and defilement are used to prosecute traffickers. The government actively prosecutes cases of sex crimes, but does not keep trafficking statistics separately. In 2002, there were 479 cases recorded of sex crimes against children. All but a few cases brought to court were fully prosecuted. The government recently ratified seven key international conventions, including the UN Trafficking Protocol. We have no information on government efforts to punish Rwandan soldiers, Rwandan-backed militia, or citizens for supporting the forcible recruitment of individuals in Rwandan-controlled DROC.

Protection
The Ministry of Local Government has opened childcare centers that serve as safe-houses for street children in each of the country’s 12 provinces. The government continued to reunite children separated from their families, who remain vulnerable to traffickers, during the genocide and civil unrest. The government has released and reintegrated all children imprisoned for participation in the 1994 genocide.

SAUDI ARABIA (Tier 2)

Saudi Arabia is a destination country for trafficked persons. Victims come primarily from the Philippines, Bangladesh, Sudan, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka to work as domestic servants and menial laborers. Some persons who come to Saudi Arabia in search of work are forced into situations of coerced labor or slave-like conditions, and in some of those cases they also suffer extreme working conditions and physical abuse. Some female domestic servants work in conditions of forced labor, and in some cases those trafficking victims are also physically and sexually abused. Many low-skilled foreign workers have their passports withheld, contracts altered, and suffer non-payment of salaries of varying degrees and durations.

The Government of Saudi Arabia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government’s strengths in combating trafficking are in the areas of prevention and protection. The government is taking steps to increase the enforcement of trafficking by revising its visa system.

Prevention
The Ministries of Labor and Interior work closely with their counterparts from the Philippines and Sri Lanka on foreign labor issues. Various ministries have supported public awareness campaigns advising abused domestic workers to seek refuge in government-sponsored shelters, and brochures are distributed to domestic servants in their own languages upon arrival, advising them on how to report abuse. Foreign workers must now use licensed agencies in the Kingdom and nationally licensed recruitment agencies in the source country. The Saudi Arabia National Recruitment Committee instituted a unified labor contract for foreign workers clarifying requirements and expectations of recruitment agencies and workers. The government is funding an awareness-training program in Sri Lanka for women seeking work in Saudi Arabia as domestics where they receive information on their rights and useful telephone numbers. A senior religious figure has warned Saudis against abusing their foreign workers, reminding them that Islam does not permit the oppression of workers regardless of their religion.

Prosecution
The Government of Saudi Arabia outlawed slavery in 1962. Islamic law prohibits sexual relationships outside the context of marriage and provides for strict penalties if the law is breached. Law enforcement investigates cases of large-scale mistreatment of workers and allegations of abuse. Some abusive household employers have been arrested. Although domestics are exempt from the labor law, the Social Welfare Office works as a mediator between employee and sponsor. Arbitration runs in favor of foreign workers up to 90% of the time. As part of the standard curriculum for all officers, police academies include a class on labor regulations, including how to handle cases of abused foreign workers. The government has shifted worker visa issuance authority to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to rein in the practice by which Saudi sponsors request more visas than needed and sell them to middlemen. The police worked together with law enforcement from Morocco to break up a Moroccan trafficking ring consisting of 40 family members. There are no indications of government involvement or complicity in trafficking.

Protection
The Government of Saudi Arabia operates three shelters, called Welfare Camps, in the largest cities for abused or trafficked female foreign workers. Police bring runaway domestics to the shelters. Women stay there, receiving food and medical care, while law enforcement investigates their cases. Foreign embassies have access to their citizens. These shelters have resulted in foreign embassies no longer needing to harbor domestics on their compounds.

SENEGAL (Tier 2)

Senegal is a source and transit country for women and girls trafficked to Europe, South Africa, and the Middle East for sexual exploitation, and a destination country for children trafficked from surrounding countries. Large numbers of Senegalese children are forced to beg in the streets for food and money by religious leaders. Nigerian criminal organizations use Dakar as a transit point for women trafficked for purposes of prostitution to Europe, especially Italy. Some religious instructors in Koranic schools bring children from rural Senegal to Dakar and hold them under conditions of involuntary servitude.

The Government of Senegal 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. Appropriate next steps would include drafting anti-trafficking legislation, continuing efforts to centralize and streamline government anti-trafficking efforts, enforcing current statutes, and carrying out nationwide public awareness campaigns.

Prevention
The government participates in a pilot project with an international organization that is creating a migration statistics unit for West Africa. The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Justice cooperated to produce a handbook of definitions, a regional work plan, and a survey of migration data sources. All cases of clandestine prostitution and trafficking have been entered from 1998-2001. Government programs are underway to make women more self-sufficient, improve educational opportunities for children (particularly girls), assist children in Koranic schools, foster income-generating projects in their villages, and eliminate the worst forms of child labor. In conjunction with international organizations, the government is implementing 10 programs to withdraw children from the worst forms of child labor and build capacity of civil society to protect children. Senegal is participating in a regional plan of action to combat trafficking in persons.

Prosecution
Senegal has no law against trafficking, but existing laws do cover abduction, hostage taking, and the sale of persons and are used against traffickers. Senegal has had some success in trafficking-related law enforcement efforts. In 2001, a high-profile attempt to traffic Senegalese women to Libya was prevented. In 2002, the Senegalese police responded to the allegations of an escaped Nigerian trafficking victim with several arrests and also broke up a Chinese brothel ring. The government provides anti-trafficking awareness training and capacity reinforcements for government officials. The government and NGOs are working together to develop a training manual on trafficking for police and for military peacekeepers.

Protection
The government works with several international organizations and NGOs to provide assistance and protection to trafficking victims. 

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO1 (Tier 2)

Serbia and Montenegro is a transit country and, to a lesser extent, a source and destination country, for women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation. Victims, mostly from Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, and Bulgaria, end up in Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania, and Western Europe. Roma children are trafficked through Serbia and Montenegro for begging and theft in Western Europe.

The Government of Serbia and Montenegro does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In the past year, the federal and republic governments increased their capacity to protect victims and to cooperate with NGOs, but lack of proper treatment of victims in court, low court convictions, and potential government complicity are still serious weaknesses in the government’s ability to meet the minimum standards.

Prevention
Through their anti-trafficking task forces, both republics continued local prevention coordination mechanisms with NGOs. The Republic of Montenegro institutionalized the government anti-trafficking coordinator position and established three local offices to coordinate its preventive activities. The National Project Board in Montenegro organized awareness campaigns, including television spots donated by government stations. Access to government schools and other public facilities was provided for awareness campaigns.

Prosecution
The Serbian Parliament passed anti-trafficking amendments to the criminal code in the spring of 2003. Before the amendments, trafficking crimes were pursued under related laws. In the past year, Serbian police arrested 104 individuals for trafficking-related crimes and all cases advanced to pre-trial investigation or court proceedings. The Montenegrin Parliament passed a republic-wide anti-trafficking law used to prosecute 22 suspects for human trafficking and 14 individuals for facilitating prostitution. The majority are in court proceedings, four are in pre-trial investigation, 12 were dismissed and three individuals were convicted and sentenced to one-two years’ imprisonment. Despite enhanced law enforcement capacity, court adjudication generally was weak. In several instances, courts dismissed cases for lack of evidence or allowed confusing and degrading testimony in trial. Police forces in both republics have anti-trafficking units that receive specialized training, and the border police and police academy in Serbia have anti-trafficking training as well. A notable case in the Republic of Montenegro against a public official included allegations of government complicity2. Police placed the government suspect in detention and the case is currently in pre-trial investigative procedure.

Protection
In the absence of an institutionalized system of victim protection, federal and republic governments signed memoranda of understanding with victim services organizations to ensure protection and assistance for victims. Some police were trained to identify victims as defined in the United Nations Anti-Trafficking Protocol and to make referrals to NGOs for assistance. Both republics have victim shelters and in Serbia, the Ministry of Social Services provides the premises for a national counseling center. Police receive ongoing training and awareness to decrease detention and deportation of victims. Victims do not have the right to temporary residency, but may stay in the trafficking shelter for 30 days. They are obligated to stay as long as necessary if they are assisting in criminal proceedings. The government signed the Stability Pact Ministerial agreement on shelter and residency for victims, and the Ministerial agreement between Stability Pact countries to exchange trafficking information. Victims may file civil suits and seek compensation, but foreign victims have no right to work and there is no victim compensation fund. In the notable Montenegrin case mentioned above, the victim in question was referred to the shelter and, although she was subject to intense publicity and prolonged questioning, her treatment during the pretrial investigation appeared to proceed according to international standards and she was eventually resettled in a third country. Cooperation between the republic government’s anti-trafficking coordinator and some NGOs serving on the National Project Board declined after the coordinator admitted to being a close friend of one of the four suspects in the case.

Kosovo
Kosovo, while technically a part of Serbia and Montenegro, is currently administered under the authority of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) pending a determination of its future status in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244. Since the adoption of UNSCR 1244 in June 1999, UNMIK has provided transitional administration for Kosovo including in the area of rule of law, UNMIK is aware of the serious trafficking problem in Kosovo and conducts anti-trafficking efforts. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General promulgated a trafficking regulation with the force of law in 2001, and a specialized anti-trafficking police unit made up of UN police and Kosovo Police Service officers actively enforces the regulation.

___________________

1On February 4, 2003, the Yugoslav parliament adopted the Constitutional Charter and Implementation Law, marking the end of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the beginning of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro. Since June 1999, Kosovo has been administered under the authority of the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK).

2The Minister of Interior, after backing the arrest and investigation of the deputy public prosecutor and three other suspects on suspicion of trafficking and facilitating prosecution, was not included in the Prime Minister's new government--a move widely interpreted as a virtual dismissal.

SIERRA LEONE (Tier 2)

Sierra Leone is a source country for trafficked persons. Tens of thousands of men, women, and children were trafficked internally in Sierra Leone throughout the civil war, which ended in January 2002. During the course of a 10-year conflict, rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) abducted individuals and forced them to work as laborers, mainly in the country’s diamond fields. Women and girls were used as sex slaves and for domestic labor. Despite the end of the conflict and the release of some victims, the number of girls released was an extremely small percentage of the estimated number of girls used as sex slaves during the conflict. Moreover, it is likely that small groups of captured individuals are still being held for forced labor or sexual servitude. Children are reportedly being trafficked to Liberia as forced conscripts, and some children are being trafficked to Europe in false adoption schemes. Child prostitution is on the rise as well.

The Government of Sierra Leone 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. Sierra Leone can make additional progress through undertaking a comprehensive public awareness campaign, stepping up law enforcement efforts, and committing additional resources for victim protection and repatriation of victims.

Prevention
The government conducts a survey of trafficking victims, works with international and non-governmental organizations on trafficking, and now includes trafficking issues in its ongoing reconstruction. The government’s primary focus is on demobilization of child soldiers and reunification of families separated during the war. Government officials and non-governmental organizations provided briefings and counseling to local communities which accepted returned children. The government supports Voice of the Children, a radio program run by children for children. Sierra Leone is participating in a regional plan of action to combat trafficking in persons.

Prosecution
Although there is no specific anti-trafficking law, there are laws against procuring a female by threats or coercion for the purpose of prostitution. The government assists a special UN court in the trials of the former Interior Minister and other rebel commanders on charges of kidnapping and recruitment of child soldiers in March 2002. The police are actively compiling a database of trafficking cases. Police raided brothels in February 2003, breaking up a Nigerian trafficking ring. The ringleader escaped from custody. Police officials receive training in trauma healing and sexual and gender-based violence from non-governmental and international organizations. Police work closely with child protection advisors attached to the peacekeeping mission.

Protection
The government and international organizations have demobilized an estimated 5,200 former child combatants and reunited 2,363 non-combatant separated children, a significant number of whom were trafficked. The police are also actively involved in locating and securing the release of others still held captive, directing minors to UN programs, including the Child Protection Unit of the peacekeeping force, and others to NGOs for assistance.

SLOVAK REPUBLIC (Tier 2)

The Slovak Republic is an origin, transit and destination country primarily for women trafficked into sexual exploitation. Slovak women have been trafficked to Spain, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France, Mexico and Japan. Women from former Soviet republics and Eastern Europe transit through the Slovak Republic on their way to Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and other European countries and may be trafficked into prostitution during transit.

The Government of the Slovak Republic does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The government significantly increased its focus on trafficking and showed strong law enforcement capacity to investigate and prosecute trafficking crimes. Efforts were relatively weaker regarding prevention and protection, and petty corruption in the police and lack of resources continued to hamper the government’s overall ability to respond effectively.

Prevention
The government has relatively few resources to devote to trafficking, but the Ministry of Labor provided a small grant to one NGO for its trafficking prevention programs. From the transit country perspective, the government’s strongest preventive strategy was in strengthening law enforcement’s ability to recognize potential trafficking schemes and share information between agencies and neighboring countries. The anti-trafficking unit in the Bureau of Organized Crime investigates travel and employment schemes while the Border and Alien Police coordinate information sharing between ministries about border crossings.

Prosecution
In 2002, the government passed new amendments to existing anti-trafficking legislation. The amended legislation brings domestic law closer in line with the UN Anti-Trafficking Protocol provisions by including all forms of trafficking and prescribing a penalty of three to ten years, with an increased penalty if the activity was organized or if the victim is under 18. During the year, there were 17 reported arrests for trafficking in adults with six persons convicted, and two arrests for trafficking in children. The Ministry of Interior created a specialized police unit to investigate trafficking and sexual exploitation, which achieved some initial success; however, the unit lacks training and resources. The government cooperates with a number of neighboring countries on investigations and capacity building, and cooperated closely with German law enforcement in a recent operation against a trafficking ring. To tighten controls at the borders, the government instituted stronger anti-corruption measures, including firing certain officials in customs and border agencies and arresting others.

Protection
In early 2003, the government initiated an inter-agency task force, with NGO representation, to discuss improving witness protection and victim assistance for all crime victims, including trafficking victims. The Slovak Republic cooperates with foreign governments and concluded bilateral cooperation agreements with its neighbors, which have facilitated joint law enforcement investigations. The government does not have mechanisms in place to protect trafficking victims who could be detained, charged with related crimes, and deported. Witness protection is available and witnesses in a major anti-trafficking operation in the past year were provided protection and assisted police in a successful investigation. Still, lack of trust in the police often prevents potential witnesses from cooperating.

SLOVENIA (Tier 2)


Slovenia is primarily a transit, and secondarily a destination, country for women and teenage girls trafficked from Southeastern, Eastern, and Central Europe to Western Europe, the United States, and Canada. Slovenia is also a country of origin for a small number of women and teenaged girls trafficked to Western Europe.

The Government of Slovenia 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 a strong preventive approach, and improved law enforcement response in the past year.

Prevention
The Government of Slovenia increased public awareness through programs to sensitize potential victims through distribution of leaflets about trafficking both at embassies and consulates for visa recipients within vulnerable categories, and for middle and high school-aged girls regarding recruitment methods. The government also funded a mass-media information campaign on trafficking and domestic violence. Members of the Interdepartmental Working Group participated in radio interviews, panel discussions, and arranged the TV airing of a video on trafficking victims. The government adequately monitors its borders; however, valid work permits are often misused to facilitate trafficking.

Prosecutions
Slovenia lacks a law specifically prohibiting trafficking, although such legislation is pending. In the meantime, the government continues to investigate and prosecute traffickers under pimping, procurement of sexual acts, inducement into prostitution, rape, sexual assault, bringing a person into slavery or similar conditions, or the transportation of slaves. The Inter-Departmental Working Group for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings reports that in 2002 police made 55 trafficking-related arrests and prosecutors initiated 21 prosecutions, involving 28 victims, 15 of whom are considered victims of enslavement. During the reporting period, a special task force of prosecutors was established to handle trafficking cases. During the past year the government put into practice a nation-wide Standard Operating Procedure for handling potential trafficking cases which requires police officers to direct suspected trafficking cases to a centralized office in the criminal police directorate that specializes in such crimes. The government has an independent anti-corruption office and it has participated in the Stability Pact Task Force on Trafficking in Human Beings and other regional anti-trafficking efforts.

Protection
An adequate and sustainable system of shelter and protection for victims and witnesses has not yet been fully established. Many victims trafficked to Slovenia enter legally and carry work permits as “artistic dancers” and are therefore not under threat of deportation. Those who lose the protection of the permit and who are subject to deportation may be referred to a new NGO shelter, or to a detention facility for illegal migrants awaiting deportation. The government funds NGOS working on trafficking-related issues. In particular, the government works closely with one Slovenian NGO which offers reintegration services to Slovenian victims as well as counseling, legal support, and shelter to all victims. Victims who wish to return to their home country are referred to the local IOM office, while those requesting asylum are referred to the government’s immigration officials and UNHCR.

SOUTH AFRICA (Tier 2)

South Africa is a destination country for women trafficked from other parts of Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and the former Soviet Union for commercial sexual exploitation. South African women and children are also trafficked internally for labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Powerful trafficking syndicates from Russia, Thailand, China, and Nigeria control much of the sex trade. Sex tourism is also increasing. South Africa is a country of transit for trafficking operations between developing countries and Europe, the United States, and Canada.

The Government of South Africa does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. South Africa should expedite the enactment of anti-trafficking legislation, commit more resources to understaffed police units, provide temporary status and protection for foreign trafficking victims, and enhance witness protection programs, particularly for child victims.

Prevention
The Ministry of Labor has established ten Child Labor Inter-Sectoral Groups, which include several government ministries, international organizations, NGOs, unions, and employers. These entities coordinate services, help raise public awareness, and enforce labor laws against the worst forms of child labor. The government provided a school building for NGOs to educate street children, funded free school uniforms for 1,900 poor children, and established 167 child societies to promote awareness of children’s rights. Despite a media campaign against child prostitution, high crime, child rape, domestic abuse, and HIV/AIDS remain overwhelming social priorities. The government is working with an international organization to eliminate the worst forms of child labor and provides child support grants and family allowances to high-risk groups, especially child-headed household and HIV/AIDS orphans.

Prosecution
South Africa does not have a comprehensive anti-trafficking law. An anti-child trafficking provision was inserted into the Child Welfare Act, and the South African Law Commission began drafting a comprehensive anti-trafficking law. The government is currently prosecuting a high profile case against a prominent brothel and several child prostitution cases in Cape Town. Victim reluctance to testify and the deportation of foreign victims continue to hamper investigations and prosecutions. The government established an anti-trafficking unit at Johannesburg International Airport, and border police incorporated protection of women and children into their training curriculum. Police and judicial officials received training on the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and labor inspectors were trained and performed inspections of businesses and agricultural farms throughout 2002. South Africa cooperates with neighboring countries, but police units handling trafficking issues are understaffed and information sharing with neighbors is hindered by corruption.

Protection
South Africa uses 20 Sexual Offenses courts to handle trafficking cases, but relies heavily on NGOs to provide witness protection. Non-governmental organizations provide shelter, medical, and legal assistance for child prostitutes and a hotline for victims of child abuse. The government has donated land and buildings for various shelters for victims of sexual abuse, street children, and orphans.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA (Tier 1)

South Korea is a source, transit and destination country for women trafficked for sexual exploitation. Victims come mainly from Southeast Asia (particularly the Philippines and Thailand), China, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. Women often enter South Korea on “entertainer” visas and are forced to work as prostitutes in bars and private clubs. South Korean women are also trafficked abroad to Japan and the United States.

The Government of South Korea fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government recognizes that trafficking is a national problem and undertakes comprehensive efforts to prevent it, protect victims and prosecute traffickers. The government’s decision to apply stricter standards in the issuance of “entertainer” visas is a positive move and will require further monitoring. The government has taken important steps to reduce police corruption associated with trafficking.

Prevention
Many government agencies undertake education and prevention campaigns. The Korean National Police Agency prints materials in various languages explaining the dangers of trafficking and detailing the assistance and services offered to victims by the government. Thousands of police officers visit schools to discuss trafficking issues with children. The highest-ranking woman police officer has reached out to foreign embassies and potential trafficking victims. South Korean embassies in source countries distribute leaflets warning visa applicants of sex trafficking.

Prosecution
South Korea has no anti-trafficking law, but uses a variety of criminal statutes to prosecute traffickers. In 2002, the government reported that it detained and investigated 450 suspected traffickers, indicted 90, and convicted 68 perpetrators. Penalties varied based on the criminal statute applied, but three years was the average sentence. South Korea cooperates internationally on law enforcement, working with INTERPOL and national governments to identify and arrest traffickers. Senior police officials have addressed incidents of corruption in their lower ranks, and two Korean consular officials were indicted for accepting bribes to issue visas.

Protection
Government protection efforts are comprehensive and officials are aware of the need to protect victims. The Ministry of Gender Equality provides assistance for temporary and long-term shelters, which offer trafficking victims free lodging and food, medical assistance, counseling, and legal services. The government also provides funding to domestic NGOs, which offer victims shelter. The rights of foreign victims are generally respected, and they are not charged with illegal employment or residency. Victims are provided with free legal services to seek compensation for unpaid wages. When trafficking victims report a crime or act as a witness in court, their identity and personal information are kept confidential for their personal protection.

SPAIN (Tier 1)

Spain is both a destination and transit country for trafficked persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation and, to a lesser degree, forced labor. Victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation come primarily from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Russia, but an increasing number of victims come from Romania. Occasional cases involve victims trafficked for forced labor in agriculture, sweatshops, and restaurants. Reports increased of trafficking in Latvian boys and adolescents for both labor and sexual exploitation. Spain is a transit country for trafficking victims destined for Portugal and Italy.

The Government of Spain fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Effective law enforcement measures continued, with some additional international operations taken since last year’s report.

Prevention
The government, under its Strategic Plan on Immigration, explicitly recognizes the need to fight trafficking in persons, operates information awareness literature campaigns, funding for information and prevention campaigns in major source countries, and a referral system by the police for trafficking victim support.

Prosecution
Spanish law adequately prohibits internal and international trafficking in persons. The law assigns stiff penalties to traffickers, depending on the severity of the trafficking, and contains a specific provision for labor trafficking. Within the last year, the government broke up approximately 217 networks and arrested 880 individuals, including 164 in Madrid and 71 in Murcia, for involvement in human trafficking. In March, the National Court sentenced eight people to 4-15 year prison sentences for trafficking persons from Ukraine into forced labor and debt bondage. Exploitation of prostitutes and minors through coercion and fraud is prohibited. Immigration authorities are especially active in dismantling human trafficking organizations and regional and local governments provide significant law enforcement assistance to control illegal immigration and dismantle trafficking networks. The National Police Academy offers courses on trafficking in persons and document fraud, as well as methods for identifying traffickers. Spain cooperates with other governments on trafficking cases via INTERPOL and Europol; however, cooperation with Latvia, a known source country, remains weak.

Protection
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs investigates substandard working conditions and provides funding to organizations that assist trafficking victims. Spanish law provides for temporary residence for undocumented persons who cooperate with law enforcement to prosecute migrant smugglers, including traffickers. Undocumented trafficking victims who are scheduled for deportation are eligible for free legal assistance from both government and non-governmental sources. Victims who are granted the right to stay in Spain in return for testimony against traffickers are authorized to work and travel within the country, but generally are only eligible for emergency medical care. The government funds shelters, which can accommodate trafficking victims, and national, regional, and local governments fund domestic NGOs, which provide assistance to trafficking victims.

SRI LANKA (Tier 2)

Sri Lanka is a country of origin and destination for trafficked persons. Commercial sexual exploitation of children, especially that of boys, occurs domestically, often in tourist areas. Many of these children, especially girls, are lured by promises of job opportunities or overseas travel, and family members or friends often introduce them into commercial sexual activity. Internal trafficking of persons for purposes of domestic servitude and combat also takes place in Sri Lanka. In many cases, Sri Lankan women go to the Middle East to countries such as Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, or Saudi Arabia in search of work, only to be put into situations of coerced labor, slave-like conditions, or sexual exploitation. A small number of Thai, Russian, and Chinese women have been trafficked to Sri Lanka for purposes of sexual exploitation. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) abduct children for purposes of forced labor and military conscription. A ceasefire has been in place since December 2001, but children are still at risk in rebel-controlled areas.

The government of Sri Lanka does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Sri Lanka can improve its anti-trafficking performance by stepping up law enforcement efforts, particularly against sex tourists, and ensure the protection of children recruited as child soldiers by the LTTE as peace negotiations continue. The government needs to ensure that foreign women who are trafficked to Sri Lanka are not arrested.

Prevention
The government, together with NGOs, has conducted public awareness campaigns regarding child labor and created hotlines for reporting child labor abuse. Some NGOs also work with the government in starting educational campaigns geared towards keeping mothers from working in the Middle East, where they often work without many civil protections. The government is working collaboratively with other governments in educating Sri Lankan women about their rights in destination countries.

Prosecution
The Sri Lankan Penal Code specifically criminalizes trafficking in persons, and law enforcement authorities have undertaken some investigations of traffickers. Sri Lanka has a labor mediation board and the government also helps in investigating fraudulent employment agencies and contracts. The government’s Overseas Employment Bureau works with Sri Lankan embassies abroad to resolve problems that domestic workers encounter. The LTTE controls territory in the north and east of the country, so the government is unable to investigate or prosecute traffickers in these areas.

Protection
The Police Women’s and Children’s Bureau, the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), and a police unit directly attached to the NCPA work together to combat trafficking and protect victims. The government provides rehabilitation camps and other services for victims. The government’s ability to provide long-term assistance to victims is limited; however, the NCPA provides medical and psychological assistance to Sri Lankan victims of trafficking and former child soldiers. The NCPA also coordinates the monitoring of the tourism industry and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Sri Lanka shares information with foreign governments and law enforcement organizations about the identification of child abuse. The government has assigned welfare officers to its embassies to countries in the Middle East to assist women who may have been trafficked.

SUDAN (Tier 3)

Sudan is a source and destination country for internationally trafficked persons and has widespread internally trafficked persons. Sudanese government-sponsored militias and rebel groups have abducted thousands of men, women, and children who are used as sex slaves, domestic workers, and child soldiers from within Sudan and Uganda. Men are conscripted as soldiers and laborers. Women and children are also subjected to intertribal abductions for domestic servitude and sexual exploitation in the southern part of the country. There is a wide divergence in the estimates of abducted and/or enslaved persons. An undetermined number of women and children remain in captivity in situations of forced servitude. There are reports of Sudanese being sold into slavery and transported through Chad to Libya and of Sudanese boys being trafficked to the Middle East as camel jockeys.

The Government of Sudan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The government has taken some steps in the form of public statements, attempts to document abductees, and cooperation with international observers over the past year, but lack of government will and resources continues to hamper efforts to combat trafficking in Sudan.

Prevention
Lack of government will has resulted in little progress toward preventing trafficking. The government signed an agreement to stop supporting the Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda (LRA), but the group still operates from Sudanese territory. The LRA has stepped up its activities over the past year, and continues to hold large numbers of abductees.

Prosecution
Despite expanded authority to investigate and prosecute abductions, the government-sponsored Committee for the Eradication of the Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWAC) and an international NGO have documented 2,000 cases of abductees. Twenty-two intertribal committees were established to identify trafficking cases. However, abductors and users of forced labor have not been publicly identified, nor have they been prosecuted.

Protection
The first requirement of systematic research into abduction and enslavement is a comprehensive record of who has been abducted. No such record currently exists and will continue to hamper repatriation efforts. Three hundred victims of the LRA were repatriated in 2002. There is some governmental interaction with international organizations and NGOs, which provide some training of CEAWAC and victim assistance.

SURINAME (Tier 3)

Suriname is a destination and transit point for Brazilian, Colombian, Dominican, and Guyanese women trafficked into prostitution. Some women enter the country to become prostitutes, but once in Suriname, club owners often hold passports presumably until debts are paid. Some victims are routed through Suriname to The Netherlands or other European destinations, according to NGO reports. Suriname is a transit country for Chinese smuggled to the United States, some of whom may be trafficked. There have been cases of Surinamese prostitutes selling their own children for sex.

The Government of Suriname does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Even though the government has extremely limited resources, it must begin to enforce laws against traffickers. Poor border controls and widespread corruption contribute to an atmosphere where international smugglers and traffickers can easily operate.

Prevention
The government is essentially indifferent to the issue of trafficking. No significant prevention efforts take place. The government contributed to research by an NGO that looked at the problem of Surinamese prostitutes selling their children for sex.

Prosecution
A patchwork of laws exist which could be used to prosecute traffickers, although not all forms of trafficking are illegal; for example, there is no protection for trafficked adult males. Although prostitution of women is illegal, police do not investigate or in any way disrupt organized prostitution that may harbor victims of trafficking. Police have intervened to help prostitutes retrieve passports being held by brothel owners, but do not proactively investigate organizations or individuals who may be involved in trafficking.

Protection
The government does not provide any significant protection for victims. Police have assisted a few victims of trafficking to return to their countries at the victims’ expense. Some NGOs attempt to provide assistance to victims, but resources are greatly lacking and there is little government support.

SWEDEN (Tier 1)

Sweden is a destination country for trafficked women and an increasing number of girls for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Victims mostly are from the Baltic countries and central and eastern Europe, but a small number are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Sweden also is a transit country for trafficked victims on their way to Spain, Germany, Denmark, and Norway.

The Government of Sweden fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Although the Government of Sweden has dedicated resources in source countries, it must focus more on the problem within its own borders, such as including labor trafficking in its legislation so as to fully criminalize all types of trafficking in persons; increasing prosecutions and convictions, and better distinguishing of trafficking from illegal immigration to prevent immediate deportation of victims. Implementation of Sweden’s pioneering legal approach to criminalizing trafficking and prostitution will be monitored with interest as a potentially effective anti-trafficking model.

Prevention
Swedish law enforcement and social services recently began to distinguish trafficking from illegal immigration and prostitution. The government engages in active research to improve the effectiveness of legal actions against traffickers, to support and protect victims, and to better combat trafficking in general. As a result, the government launched several education campaigns in Sweden and neighboring countries to raise awareness and improve cooperation in the region. Sweden also supports the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, specifically the programs on prosecution. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA) significantly funds international organizations’ anti-trafficking efforts in other countries in the Baltics and Balkans, such as NGO capacity building, prevention campaigns, and rehabilitation for victims.

Prosecution
The government passed a new law on trafficking in persons for sexual purposes in July 2002, but the law does not cover labor trafficking. The government also passed a pioneering law that criminalizes the purchase, rather than the sale, of sex, while police and prosecuting authorities actively investigate cases of trafficking. Out of 200-300 trafficking cases reported by the National Police within the last year, three were actively investigated and are pending, but no convictions were secured. Various Swedish anti-trafficking units established in police districts during the previous year were terminated due to lack of financial commitment. The government cooperates with Interpol and Europol to investigate and prosecute traffickers and it adequately monitors its borders.

Protection
The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation and the prosecution of traffickers, and Sweden’s social services agencies have a legal responsibility to provide shelter to victims while they take part in trial proceedings. Victims also are entitled to legal, emotional, and psychological support during trials. However, in practice, victims do not fully utilize the shelter provided by social services agencies, as they are sent home almost immediately after authorities uncover the crimes. The Migration Board shelters asylum seekers, but most trafficking victims do not apply for asylum. In many cases, victims are deported immediately.

SWITZERLAND (Tier 1)

Switzerland is primarily a country of destination, and secondarily transit, for mostly women trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. Federal police estimate that between 1,500 and 3,000 persons are trafficked into Switzerland each year. Authorities believe that trafficking victims originate from Thailand and parts of Africa and South America, with an increasing number of women from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Authorities suspect that traffickers bring some victims, many from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, to Switzerland on temporary and “artistic” visas.

The government of Switzerland fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. While the legal framework against trafficking continues to be strengthened, the government’s practice of summarily deporting foreign women who potentially fit the victim profile, without conducting a screening, is of concern as victim protection is a vital criterion for the fulfillment of the minimum standards.

Prevention
The Government has an office to combat trafficking of young women for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. The Government financially supports the Women’s Information Center, which implements awareness-raising projects on human trafficking in source countries. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs’ Development Cooperation Office provided funding to several anti-trafficking information and education campaigns in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and to projects under the auspices of IOM, the OSCE and the Stability Pact. Switzerland’s borders are adequately monitored with stringent immigration regulations, and the government cooperated with a Swiss NGO to train Swiss consular officials to educate visa applicants in their home countries on the risks of falling victim to trafficking. The government takes an active stance against trafficking in persons in a number of international fora including various UN agencies, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the European Union.

Prosecution
The Swiss penal code has two articles specifically prohibiting trafficking in persons, both of which focus on sexual exploitation and prostitution, but not labor trafficking. Other forms of human trafficking or exploitation are covered by criminal provisions against threat, coercion, deprivation of personal liberty, rape and kidnapping; the immigration law prohibits the facilitation of illegal migration and employment of foreigners into Switzerland, and the Constitution prohibits forced compulsory labor. The Swiss Federal court further defined trafficking when it upheld the decision to sentence a Thai trafficker, finding that hiring foreign women for prostitution in Switzerland by taking advantage of their difficult economic situation removes their “consent” and generally constitutes human trafficking. The Federal Department of Police’s Central Coordination Office for Human Trade and Human Smuggling began operations at the beginning of 2003. The government was active in international cooperation and investigations including: working jointly with U.S. agents to dismantle an Asian crime ring trafficking Chinese women into prostitution in the US and signing a legal assistance treaty in criminal matters with the Philippines. Two separate units within the Federal Criminal Police handle trafficking issues, and have increased the number of agents assigned to trafficking-related cases, especially Internet crimes. One notable area of weakness is the low conviction rate. Of an estimated 3,000 cases of human trafficking every year from Eastern Europe, some 1% is reported to the police, leading to fewer than five convictions per year.

Advocates believe that Switzerland’s restrictive immigration policy undermines the effectiveness of the Penal Code and the Victim’s Assistance Law. In December 2002, the Parliament amended the Penal Code to allow jurisdiction in Swiss courts over perpetrators of crimes such as trafficking regardless of the location of the crime.

Protection
Under the Swiss Victim’s Assistance Law, individuals identified as trafficking victims may seek help from centers providing counseling, material and legal aid to abuse victims. This law also safeguards victims’ rights in criminal prosecutions with special rules for trial procedures and for compensation and redress. Federal and cantonal governments provide funding to NGOs and women’s shelters that provide services to victims, and cantonal authorities may grant temporary residency permits on a case-by-case basis to victims willing to assist in investigations and testify in court. In cases of serious hardship, a federal ordinance allows cantonal police authorities to grant a residency permit to victims of sexual exploitation or forced labor, and while practice in this area was reportedly spotty, such permits were provided in several dozens of cases. Despite the range of protections, some victims are summarily deported to their country of origin. The government contributes to victim assistance internationally, and funded an international organization program providing reintegration services for victims from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

TAIWAN (Tier 1)

Taiwan is a source, transit and destination region for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Victims are trafficked to Taiwan from China, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Some victims are lured to Taiwan as brides or under other false pretenses; others are aware of the work they will be doing and are abused after their arrival. Taiwan’s lucrative sex trade, widespread people-to-people exchanges with Mainland China, and large-scale movement of foreign workers provide opportunities for traffickers to exploit victims. Women from Taiwan are trafficked to Japan for the commercial sex trade. Illegal migrants transit Taiwan on their way to North America, where some, such as Mainland Chinese, are destined for forced labor to repay traffickers.

Taiwan authorities fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Taiwan recognizes the problem of trafficking in persons and has carried out commendable anti-trafficking measures, most notably to prevent the exploitation of minors. Officials devote substantial efforts to interdict the illegal movement of travelers through Taipei’s international airport.

Prevention
Authorities in Taiwan financially support anti-trafficking public awareness efforts by the NGO community. The authorities support the work of NGOs to prevent domestic violence and deal with family issues that may be a root cause of sex trafficking. Taiwan’s president personally helped launch a prevention campaign directed at teenage girls, which are an at-risk population group. Tourism officials work with NGOs, hotels, and travel agents to discourage sex tourism. In 2003, authorities in Taiwan issued regulations designed to curb the rate of fraudulent marriages between Taiwanese citizens and foreign spouses.

Prosecution
Taiwan has a statute that specifically penalizes trafficking in children for sexual exploitation, and it has other statutes that criminalize general trafficking activities. According to data from authorities on Taiwan, there were 233 indictments and 122 convictions during 2002 under these statutes; some of these cases are still pending. Law enforcement authorities are trained to investigate and prosecute internet-related sex crimes involving minors. On labor matters, authorities also take steps to police manpower recruitment agencies and employers, who occasionally traffick foreign laborers. Authorities in Taiwan deal with the governments of Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam in an attempt to regulate the recruitment of foreign laborers in Taiwan. Officials monitor Taiwan’s borders, but lack the capacity to prevent some illegal entries carried out by traffickers.

Protection
The authorities in Taiwan have worked closely with NGOs to assist women and girls who have been sexually abused. Local centers run by authorities and NGOs provide a wide range of services to victims of sexual assault, including shelter, legal assistance, medical care, and job training. Typically, financial assistance provided by the authorities in Taiwan approaches half of NGO operating expenses. The authorities train police and judicial officials in trafficking issues dealing with victims. Minors who are victims of trafficking are also provided with shelter, counseling and medical care.

THE REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN (Tier 2)

Tajikistan is a country of origin for young women trafficked to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, and countries of the Persian Gulf including the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iran, and Saudi Arabia for purposes of sexual exploitation. There are reports of labor trafficking to Kazakhstan as well.

The Government of Tajikistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Tajikistan is a post-conflict country and the poorest of the former Soviet states, with a per capita GDP estimated at $182 for 2002. Despite its limited resources, the government took some steps forward, most notably in its recognition of the problem and willingness to work alongside organizations with greater resources and expertise.

Prevention
The President of Tajikistan appointed the Deputy Head of the President’s Office on Women and Children as the government’s anti-trafficking coordinator, and he commissioned an inter-ministerial committee to work jointly on improving the government’s response. The government supported international organizations’ and local NGOs’ prevention campaigns, including distributing IOM brochures at railway stations and airports, and mandated official participation in anti-trafficking activities throughout the country. The government increased support for greater rural education and women’s business associations through its overall Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Prosecution
Tajikistan's lower house of Parliament passed a specific anti-trafficking bill in spring of 2003, which would also amend the criminal code to harmonize with this legislation. Until final passage, existing related criminal laws are used to prosecute cases, for which the penalties were relatively light in comparison to other grave crimes. Four cases related to trafficking were prosecuted in the last year. In two cases, traffickers were convicted on charges of kidnapping, exploitation of prostitution, and document and immigration fraud, and each received five-year sentences. One of the convicted traffickers benefited from a previous presidential decree on amnesty for certain offenses, and was released after serving only a few weeks. Members of two other trafficking networks were arrested under similar charges. The national police academy trains cadets on existing laws in relation to trafficking. Corruption related to bribes and pay-offs is reported to exist among low-ranking officials, and there are no reports that the government is taking action.

Protection
The Government of Tajikistan has no protection or reintegration programs for victims or witnesses. The government cooperates with regional transit and destination countries to assist trafficked Tajik nationals in specific cases. In most cases, the government does not jail, fine, or detain victims, although on rare occasions victims are punished for prostitution offenses. The government lacks expertise in dealing with victims. The level of awareness of trafficking amongst police and social service providers is still low. The government does not provide trafficking-specific training for its few consuls, although it has engaged its consulate in Russia to oversee the condition of Tajik workers in Russia.

TANZANIA (Tier 2)

Tanzania is a source and destination country for trafficked persons. Children are trafficked internally from rural to urban areas within the country for domestic work, commercial agriculture, fishing, mining, and child prostitution. Children in the country’s large refugee population are especially vulnerable to being trafficked to work on Tanzanian farms, and some refugees in camps in Tanzania are recruited as child soldiers for participation in conflicts in neighboring countries. To a lesser degree, Tanzania is a destination country for trafficked persons from India and Kenya. Some sources also suggest that Tanzanian women and girls may be trafficked to South Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and the United States for commercial sexual exploitation.

The Government of Tanzania 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 should provide more training to law enforcement on trafficking issues, develop child-friendly witness protection mechanisms, and undertake more systematic public awareness campaigns.

Prevention
A multi-agency government task force coordinates anti-child labor programs. There are public awareness campaigns regarding the dangers of child labor and exploitation. Tanzania is one of three countries participating in a pilot program to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The program brings together government agencies, trade unions, and legal and social welfare organizations to combat child labor, including trafficking. The government has begun to provide free education to primary school children, and has expanded the proportion of its budget dedicated to education, a key strategy to prevent child labor and child prostitution.

Prosecution
Law enforcement agencies traditionally investigate cases of migrant smuggling, and it is unclear how many of these cases are related to trafficking. There are laws related to sexual offenses and trafficking for sexual purposes. A section of the penal code was enacted in 2001 that criminalizes trafficking within or outside of Tanzania; however the penalty is relatively light. During the year nightclubs were raided and 23 girls were repatriated to India for not having valid work permits. The owners were fined. In August 2002, 12 individuals were arrested for operating a brothel in Dar es Salaam where several underage girls were found working. This case is still pending.

Protection
The cash-strapped government does not provide victims of trafficking with assistance, but supports NGOs that are involved with anti-child labor and education efforts by providing public buildings for classrooms and community centers. The government, in conjunction with international organizations, is removing children from hazardous work and prostitution and providing education and vocational training. Foreign victims are routinely repatriated.

THAILAND (Tier 2)

Thailand is a source, transit and destination country for persons trafficked into sexual exploitation and forced labor. Economic disparity in the region helps to drive significant illegal migration into Thailand from its neighbors, presenting traffickers opportunities to move victims into labor exploitation and, particularly women and children, into prostitution. International trafficking victims come mainly from Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and China. Many victims are from stateless ethnic tribes in Northern Thailand and the surrounding region. Widespread sex tourism in Thailand encourages trafficking for prostitution. Thai victims -- and others sometimes transiting through Thailand -- are trafficked to Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan, Europe and North America mainly for sexual exploitation; many go willingly and are later victimized by traffickers.

The Government of Thailand 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 recognized for years that trafficking in persons is a problem, but the issue is still not among Thailand’s top priorities. Concerned Thai officials, however, are gradually increasing the government’s regional and bilateral initiatives, a positive development because Thailand has the capacity to become a leading country in the law enforcement effort against traffickers. Thailand needs to give more focused national government direction to prosecutions and increase the number of arrests and convictions of traffickers at home. It also needs to continue working with its neighbors on regional law enforcement. Official complicity in trafficking remains an area of concern.

Prevention
The government provides life skills training to children and young women at risk of being trafficked; it works at the community level and with local industry to encourage youth to seek jobs outside the sex trade. The government works well with NGOs and international organizations giving wide latitude and support for these organizations to engage in public awareness campaigns against trafficking and provide support services.

Prosecution
The Government of Thailand enforces laws against traffickers, but given the scope of the trafficking problem within its borders, more national focus needs to be given to these efforts, particularly against kingpin traffickers. According to government data, in 2002, there were 504 trafficking related arrests, resulting in 42 prosecutions and 21 jail sentences. The establishment of a special transnational crime department, which will have a unit dedicated to combating trafficking, is a high priority of the government. The first legal and administrative steps to create this new institution have been taken. This is an important expression of the government’s long-term commitment to law enforcement and engagement on regional police cooperation. Prosecutorial attention should continue and expand against public officials who are involved in trafficking abuses. Dealing with trafficking-related official corruption merits continued government efforts. The government does not adequately control its long land borders, but it does monitor migration at Bangkok international airport.

Protection
Overall, senior Thai officials make commendable efforts to provide protection to trafficking victims; however, the relatively large size of the country and the scope of the problem hinder the smooth implementation of these measures. Officials attempt to ensure that foreign victims are not treated as illegal migrants through internal government agreements. The government operates 97 shelters for abused women and children, and works with NGO shelters to place trafficking victims. Thailand has negotiated a migrant labor memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Laos that also helps regularize the repatriations of foreign trafficking victims; an MOU with Cambodia specifically addressing trafficking is near final agreement. Thai police and consular officials receive training on how to deal with trafficking issues, and Thai missions overseas provide support to victims who want to return home.

TOGO (Tier 2)

Togo is a source and destination country for internationally trafficked persons, mostly children. The majority of the victims are trafficked to Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Gabon, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, and Europe for indentured servitude or domestic labor. Children are also trafficked internally and from Benin, Nigeria, and Ghana to Togo’s urban areas for domestic labor.

The Government of Togo 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 should step up its financial commitment to anti-trafficking programs and protection efforts, penalize law enforcement officials for corruption or failure to act against traffickers, and enhance its efforts to prosecute traffickers to conviction.

Prevention
The government stepped up its anti-trafficking public awareness campaigns during 2002. With training from an international NGO, 278 Togolese workers traveled throughout the country to conduct grassroots education campaigns in individual villages on the dangers of child trafficking. They spoke to an estimated 35,000 people, especially young women, teachers, taxi drivers and village leaders. The government has established four centers to provide sex- and health-education for young women, and has also kept school fees lower for girls than for boys. In December 2002, the government hosted a regional meeting with the governments of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Togo is participating in an international program to eliminate the worst forms of child labor and is a member of the regional plan of action against trafficking.

Prosecution
Togo has no specific anti-trafficking law, but the government has used other laws on the illegal movement or transfer of children, child labor, and sexual exploitation to prosecute and sentence traffickers. The Minor’s Brigade, a police unit dedicated to juvenile issues, investigates trafficking cases. The most recent year for which statistics are available is 2000, with 50 prosecutions of traffickers. Corruption remains a problem. A bill was introduced into the National Assembly in late 2002 to outlaw trafficking and provide specific penalties, including for parents who may unwittingly send their children away for work. Togo cooperates with the governments of Benin, Nigeria, and Ghana to allow expedited extraditions between the four countries.

Protection
The government works closely with and supports NGOs in providing services to victims, primarily through in-kind donations. Four victim care centers have been established with the government providing land and buildings. Eighty children were being sheltered in the centers as of December 2002. Victims are generally respected and not treated as criminals by government officials, including the security forces, although this does not always occur. Victims are allowed to remain in Togo and obtain other employment in some cases. The NGOs encourage victims to seek legal action against traffickers. Specialized training programs are available for some victims.

TURKEY (Tier 3)

Turkey is a destination country for persons trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and labor. It is also a country of transit to other European destinations, for women and girls trafficked into sexual exploitation. Most victims come from countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova.

The Government of Turkey does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and it is not making significant efforts to do so. Overall, the government is to be commended for the new anti-trafficking criminal article and the law enforcement efforts, including strengthening immigration laws, which were made within a relatively short amount of time. However, the government’s progress was slow in the past year, particularly in the areas of prevention and protection -– namely, deportation without screenings -– and those areas need significant improvement.

Prevention
The government did not implement any trafficking-specific preventive campaigns, but it evidenced some increased political will to address the trafficking issue. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs chairs an inter-agency task force on trafficking. The task force does not meet regularly but drafted a national action plan that the government adopted in April 2003. The government amended its law on foreigners to allow a centralized system of work permits for foreign nationals entering Turkey under legitimate programs. The new law will authorize foreigners to work as domestics, something currently practiced illegally. The government actively monitors its borders, but they are long and porous and difficult to monitor in some regions. Turkey's cooperation with source countries was reportedly limited, although improvement efforts were initiated in the spring of 2003.

Prosecution
The government amended its criminal code in the past year to prohibit trafficking in persons (Article 201/b). The law prescribes serious penalties that are increased with aggravating circumstances. As of April 2003, six trafficking cases were opened in Turkish Penal Courts pursuant to the new article, against a total of 17 suspects. In two cases, the court ruled for acquittal, finding three defendants not guilty and determining that the two alleged victims had not been illegally trafficked. The other four cases are ongoing. In these cases, 14 suspects will be on trial and 12 people have filed a complaint against them. More trafficking-related arrests were made in the past year and referred to the courts, but no convictions were reported under previously existing laws. The Ministries of Justice and Interior conducted training on the anti-trafficking legislation.

Protection
The government does not have a system for victim identification and protection; however, according to the Ministry of Interior, seven foreign citizens exposed to trafficking were issued a humanitarian visa (one month temporary residence permit). Five additional people were offered the humanitarian visa but declined and requested to leave Turkey. The government supports shelters for Turkish victims of domestic violence and while it claims they can be used to serve trafficking victims, this has not yet occurred in reported cases. Some local law enforcement officers reportedly find accommodation for victims out of their personal expense. Turkey’s cooperation with source countries was reportedly ineffective, and the government continued to deport potential victims as criminals without consistently ensuring their true nationality and without proper screening as victims. The government does not have a repatriation program, and its discussions with IOM were unsuccessful. 

UGANDA (Tier 2)

Uganda is a source country, primarily for women and children trafficked to Sudan. Over the past 15 years, a rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), has abducted tens of thousands of adults and children and forced them to carry stolen goods, cook, serve as sex slaves, and become rebel soldiers. In 2002, after the government attempted to deprive the LRA of safe haven in Sudan with military action, the number of abductions in Uganda increased significantly. The government acknowledges that internal trafficking of children for labor and commercial sexual exploitation is a growing problem. Street children and child domestics work long hours, are frequently denied food, endure physical and sexual abuse, and are isolated from their families and friends. There are reports of children being commercially sexually exploited, particularly in the capital and border towns.

The Government of Uganda does not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite severe resource constraints. There are more than 1.7 million orphans and thousands of displaced persons from civil unrest and HIV/AIDS. The government needs to develop anti-trafficking legislation, but in the meantime, it should step up civilian prosecutions of traffickers under current statutes.

Prevention
The government acknowledges that the abductions constitute a trafficking problem and has ongoing military efforts to defeat the LRA. In conjunction with an international organization, the government launched a national campaign to combat the worst forms of child labor by targeting the growing population of orphans, street children, and child-headed households, all of which are vulnerable to exploitation. Public sensitization campaigns are being conducted, and district groups to address the needs of children, especially those in domestic service, are being formed. Education for girls and orphans are priorities for the government’s universal primary education program. Uganda also participates in a regional program to combat child labor in the commercial agricultural sector, which is providing incentives to families to remove their children from hazardous work.

Prosecution
The Ugandan Penal Code prohibits the import, export, purchase, sale, receipt or detention of persons as slaves but does not cover other severe forms of trafficking. Soliciting females for prostitution carries a 7-year sentence, and rape is punishable by 18 years or the death penalty. There is no information that civilian cases were prosecuted in 2002, but when captured, LRA rebels normally are prosecuted for other crimes, such as treason and sedition, which carry harsh penalties. The government also has an amnesty law that absolves abducted persons and former rebels from criminal liability if they return and renounce rebellion. In 2002, the government increased efforts to interdict activities of the LRA. Police do not receive specialized training, but labor inspectors are educated and trained about the worst forms of child labor.

Protection
The government rescues children and others abducted by the LRA during its military operations against the rebels. It provides food and shelter until victims can be transferred to NGOs. The military has a child protection unit trained to assist abductees and child soldiers. The government trains its embassy personnel in Sudan and Kenya to assist amnesty applicants. The cash-strapped government works closely with donors and NGOs and supports counseling services, reintegration programs, and other assistance for returning victims. It also provides support for food, shelter, rehabilitation, education, and vocational training services for street children, child prostitutes, domestic workers, and children involved in cross-border smuggling and drug trafficking.

UKRAINE (Tier 2)

Ukraine is a source country for women and girls trafficked to Central and Western Europe and the Middle East for purposes of sexual exploitation. There are reports that men and boys are trafficked for labor purposes. The growth of internal trafficking of young girls is a rising concern, as is the susceptibility of children in orphanages to traffickers. Victims are recruited via agencies and firms as well as through relatives and acquaintances.

The Government of Ukraine does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In the past year, the government has shown an effort to sustain and improve existing anti-trafficking structures and mechanisms and increase the ability to prosecute and convict traffickers. Inconsistent cooperation between central government authorities and varying levels of corruption impeded some of the government’s planned efforts.

Prevention
Last year, the Ukrainian Government approved the Comprehensive Program for Combating Trafficking in Persons for 2002-2005, which created specific mandates for each ministry. The government has two separate anti-trafficking councils: one is a coordinating body headed by the Ombudswoman, while the other is headed by the Deputy Prime Minister with the primary task of reporting to the Cabinet of Ministers and the President. The Ministry of Education continued to support mandatory education initiatives in schools. NGOs are active in lobbying government counterparts at both the local and central levels, and government officials regularly attend NGO-offered trainings and workshops, thus increasing the level of cooperation. The government supports preventive public awareness campaigns, although such campaigns are primarily conducted by NGOs.

Prosecution
The current criminal code prohibits international trafficking and related crimes, but it does not proscribe internal trafficking, which must be pursued under related offenses. The Ministry of Interior has an Anti-Trafficking unit with officers in 27 administrative regions throughout Ukraine. In the past year, the police opened 169 trafficking investigations, with 41 prosecutions. Twenty-eight defendants were sentenced, with 17 receiving prison terms. While fear of retribution prevents the majority of victims from cooperating with police and prosecutors, 202 victims provided testimony during the year.

Protection
Regional referral systems between police and NGOs exist throughout Ukraine, due to the allocation of specific anti-trafficking police officers in each region and active victim assistance NGOs. NGOs rehabilitate and reintegrate victims and put them in touch with police for protection and pursuit of criminal cases. The government’s witness protection law is not effectively implemented due to a lack of funds, but in-court protections exist, such as protection identifying information in court records. In the absence of a functioning program at the central level, NGOs collaborate with local police and secure ad hoc witness and victim protection. In specific cases, they provide mobile phones to call police, apartment relocation assistance, and police and victim joint surveillance of the potential movement by traffickers. Local NGOs that provide victim assistance enhanced their cooperation with local police, and referrals between NGOs and police are increasingly common.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (Tier 1)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a destination country for trafficked persons. Foreign nationals comprise about 85% of the population, and guest workers make up 98% of the country’s private sector workforce. Women trafficked into domestic servitude come primarily from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines. Victims trafficked as domestic male servants, laborers, and unskilled workers in construction and agriculture come mainly from Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Bangladesh. Many low-skilled foreign workers have their passports withheld, contracts altered, and suffer partial, short, or long-term non-payment of salaries. Women from Central Asia and Eastern Europe have reported being lured with the promise of legitimate jobs and then forced into commercial sexual exploitation. Boys from Pakistan and Bangladesh have been trafficked to the United Arab Emirates to be camel jockeys.

The Government of the United Arab Emirates fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Given the new ban on child camel jockeys, the government should emphasize enforcement until each of the Emirates has completely eliminated it. It should expand cooperation and coordination with source countries in the rescue of trafficking victims and investigation and arrest of traffickers.

Prevention
The Dubai Police Human Rights Department conducted an outreach program to foreign embassies to advise of programs and services available to residents and visitors. The Dubai Tourist Security Department operates a 24-hour hotline to assist visitors with inquires or problems. Information about the hotline is distributed to tourists, who are potential trafficking victims, at points of entry. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs distributes an information booklet to foreign workers outlining their rights under the labor law, describing how to pursue labor disputes, and providing contact information for assistance. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs contacted source country foreign ministers asking for their cooperation in combating trafficking. The Ministry of Information and Culture supported a public awareness campaign in English and Arabic about the law banning the use of child camel jockeys. The Ministry of Health requires annual physical exams for foreign employees and medical personnel with specialized training to look for signs of abuse.

Prosecution
The penal code specifically prohibits trafficking; cases of trafficking can also be prosecuted under other statutes. Law enforcement actively investigates trafficking cases and complaints of abuse. The government recently criminalized the use of child camel jockeys. It conducts DNA and medical tests to investigate “parents” of camel jockeys. The Ministry of Labor created a task force to inspect all industrial establishments in the private sector and added 54 labor inspectors. After being found guilty of labor violations, 215 companies were blacklisted from submitting applications for work permits or sponsorship transfers and were fined. The Institute for Judicial Training and Studies at the Ministry of Justice has mandatory courses for prosecutors and judges on human rights, sex offenses, immigration, and labor violations. The Department of Naturalization and Residency at the Ministry of Interior established a central operations room to track the arrival and departure of individuals in the Emirates. To combat document fraud, the government instituted the use of retinal scan to add biometrics identification information to its databases.

Protection
The government provides assistance and protection to victims; they are not detained, jailed or deported. Victims are not prosecuted for violations of other laws, such as immigration or prostitution. Counseling services are available in public hospitals. The Ministry of Health maintains social workers and counselors in all public hospitals to which medical personnel refer patients when abuse is suspected. The Human Rights Department of the Dubai Police developed a Crime Victims’ Assistance Program, which included the creation of Victim Assistance Coordinators at each police station and police training in victim protection and assistance. Police departments provide shelter for victims who are separate from jail facilities. The government works with foreign governments and NGOs on trafficking in women when cases are brought to their attention. The Government is working closely with the Governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan on the repatriation of camel jockeys.

UNITED KINGDOM (Tier 1)

The United Kingdom is primarily a country of destination for internationally trafficked women from Eastern Europe, particularly Albania, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Russia. Some also come from East Asia, especially Thailand and China, and from West Africa, particularly Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The trafficked population includes children and men. While women are trafficked primarily into sexual exploitation and domestic servitude, trafficking of laborers, predominantly male, into agriculture, sweatshops, and industry also occurs. The United Kingdom also may play a minor role as a transit country to other western European countries.

The Government of the United Kingdom fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government’s efforts were particularly strong with regard to strengthening cooperation between police and prosecutors both domestically and internationally, and in supporting preventive programs in source countries and regions. In order to fully assess law enforcement strategies and mechanisms, this report must consider statistics on trafficking-related offenses and prosecutions. While such information was unavailable, new legislation establishing trafficking-related offenses will hopefully provide information in the coming year.

Prevention
The government focused on prevention and reduction both at the national and EU levels. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development conducted preventive campaigns in countries of origin, including disseminating anti-trafficking materials in Southeastern Europe. The Department for International Development has contributed funding to a project by the International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor to combat the trafficking of children within the Mekong sub-region of Southeast Asia. The government supports multinational and international efforts to prevent trafficking, in particular, EU, UN, OSCE and Stability Pact initiatives. It also worked closely with various NGOs to produce an awareness raising toolkit on trafficking. The government adequately monitors its borders.

Prosecution
There is no law specifically prohibiting all forms of trafficking in persons, but many human trafficking offenses are punishable under existing laws. The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002 was changed to establish an offense of trafficking for prostitution that carries a maximum penalty of 14 years. New offenses related to human trafficking are in recently introduced legislation on sexual offenses. Strengthening the operational and legal fight against human trafficking is one of the government’s priorities for the European Commission five-year (2003-07) funding program in the area of police and judicial cooperation. Task Force Reflex, a U.K. law enforcement initiative, coordinates all agencies involved in combating trafficking and migrant smuggling. With the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002 only in effect since November 2002, numbers of trafficking-related prosecutions under this act were not yet reported, but public reports in the press highlighted a number of trafficking investigations and arrests. The Crown Prosecution Service works closely with the police at home, appoints prosecutors as liaison magistrates abroad, and works increasingly with Eurojust (an initiative of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council) to combat serious cross-border crime, including trafficking in persons. Prosecutors provide advice to police at the investigation stage, and joint police-prosecutorial criminal justice units were established in 46 towns, with some 85 more to come. As an effort to combat transnational crime, including trafficking in persons, the government provided liaison magistrates in Spain, Italy and France.

Protection
The government assists victims with a full range of social and health care services, and temporary residence is available on an individual basis. It provides funding to UK and foreign victim-assistance NGOs. The government established a pilot project to support victims of trafficking through cooperation with a specialized domestic violence NGO. Victims who wish to return home or who are not authorized to remain are provided reintegration assistance, including initial counseling, suitable accommodation and support in reintegration into their own community. The police issued standard operating procedures to prevent the intimidation and harassment of witnesses. The Home Office prepared specific guidance for officials who may encounter trafficking to understand the difference between trafficking victims and illegal migrants. Victims are encouraged to assist in investigation and prosecution of trafficking and may file civil suits.

UZBEKISTAN (Tier 3)

Uzbekistan is primarily a source and to a lesser extent, a transit country for the purposes of prostitution and labor. Confirmed information on the extent of trafficking from Uzbekistan only recently emerged, and there is a concern that the deterioration in the economy may lead to a growing problem. Known destinations are Kazakhstan, UAE, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Kosovo, and Israel. According to economists, 40-80% of the population has fallen into poverty in the eleven years since independence from the Soviet Union. Many of these newly poor earn less than $1 per day.

The Government of Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. The Government of Uzbekistan only recently recognized that it has a problem with trafficking in persons, and that trafficking could become a greater problem if left unchecked. During the spring of 2003, central government authorities showed a greater willingness to focus on the issue, especially through improved dialogue with victim assistance NGOs. This recognition came late in the reporting period, and now its treatment of known victims and of women fitting the victim profile must be improved.

Prevention
The government has thus far taken only limited preventive actions of its own. The government denies exit from Uzbekistan to young women and does not screen them to determine if they are victims and does not offer them preventive information on trafficking. The government worked alongside other organizations on prevention in some instances, such as the permission granted by the Ministry of Education to one NGO to conduct anti-trafficking programs in schools. Some regions have been more proactive than the central government, with the regional government's Women’s Committee in Samarkand engaging with NGOs to establish information-sharing and referral for victims.

Prosecution
The criminal code does not contain an anti-trafficking law. Other criminal articles prohibit various aspects of trafficking in persons, and the government pursued some criminal investigations under these laws, but there have been no final prosecutions or convictions of traffickers in Uzbekistan. An organized trafficking ring from Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan was exposed in February 2003. Under international pressure, the government investigated this case and has expelled the two North Koreans responsible. However, the Prosecutor General has taken actions against illegal recruitment, especially through marriage agencies and tourist firms and is pursuing a case involving 56 men who may have been labor trafficking victims in Siberia. It is also investigating the case of a girl trafficked for sex to the UAE. Border guards reportedly harass returning victims and require pay-offs at the border for women possibly fitting the victim profile. While no actions against this corruption were reported for the period covered by this report, in early 2002 the government convicted two border guards on corruption charges for allowing people to be trafficked.

Protection
The government does not have a mechanism for screening, recognizing, sheltering or otherwise assisting victims, nor does it have a referral mechanism to victim-assistance NGOs. However, it is increasing its efforts at victim assistance and protection. In late spring 2003, the government began to share information with one victim-assistance NGO, and border officials informally agreed to provide that NGO greater access to returning victims at the airport. However, victims complain of harsh treatment by police and border agents when returning. The government continued to charge a $25 fee to victims abroad who are seeking new travel documents. Most victims were not able to pay this fee. NGOs were unable to secure effective assistance from consular officers in many cases throughout the year, but in spring of 2003, the government began to respond to some of the pleas of NGOs advocating for and assisting in the repatriation of victims, and it began using temporary travel documents to bring trafficking victims home from abroad. The government engaged in discussions with IOM regarding a repatriation program, but still has not entered into any agreement for such a project.

VENEZUELA (Tier 2)

Venezuela is a destination, transit, and source country for trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation. Women are trafficked to Venezuela from Colombia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru and Cuba. Venezuelan women and girls are trafficked internally from rural to urban areas and internationally to Spain, Portugal and the United States. Children are trafficked internally for labor and sexual exploitation. Some undocumented residents in Venezuela from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru fall victim to traffickers. Because of its lax border controls, illegal migrants transit Venezuela; some of these migrants may be trafficked.

The Government of Venezuela 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’s ability to address trafficking is uniquely hindered by the country’s current political and economic situation. Many officials are only slowly recognizing the nature of the trafficking problem. Some government offices -- such as the National Institute for Women -- are institutionally capable of responding to trafficking, but have not focused heavily on this issue. By committing more resources to the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, cooperating with NGOs to widen the understanding of the issue, and addressing trafficking-related corruption, the government can make progress in combating trafficking in persons.

Prevention
The government’s National Institute for Women (called “Inamujer”) runs a toll-free telephone hotline in which counselors are on standby to advise women in distress, but has not conducted any specific outreach or anti-trafficking information campaigns to make this resource more widely known. NGOs active in combating trafficking seek opportunities to cooperate with the government in developing a national plan. In prevention efforts not specific to trafficking, the government provides some support to prevent violence against women and increase women’s participation in the economy.

Prosecution
Venezuela has no comprehensive law to address trafficking. The Organic Law to Protect Children and Adolescents could be used to prosecute traffickers of minors, but there is no information on any such prosecutions. In 2002, the Attorney General planned to increase significantly the number of prosecutors working on immigration matters, but budget cuts stymied this effort. Venezuela does not adequately monitor its borders. Corruption is a problem; some officials are accused of facilitating the illegal movement of people.

Protection
The Venezuelan legal system has good intentions with regard to the protection of women and children, but specific resources committed to combat trafficking are limited. Inamujer has opened three emergency shelters to help battered women, which include trafficking victims. Women sheltered under the aegis of Inamujer have recourse to legal services; however, victims are not specifically encouraged to pursue legal action against traffickers and there is no information on any such cases. Foreign victims are not treated as criminals and their rights are theoretically respected; however, the government makes no special efforts to determine who is a victim and some may be deported as illegal migrants. Venezuelan diplomatic officials are instructed to give consular assistance to their nationals in need overseas, but the government does not generally provide specialized training on trafficking.

VIETNAM (Tier 2)

Vietnam is a source, transit and, to a lesser extent, destination country for persons trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked to Cambodia, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan for sexual exploitation and forced marriages. Victims from China transit Vietnam on trafficking routes to Australia, Europe and North America. Cambodian children are trafficked into Vietnam to beg in urban areas. Vietnamese rural laborers are exploited by traffickers. Labor export companies recruit and send workers abroad; some of these laborers have been known to suffer trafficking abuses.

The Government of Vietnam does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Particular concern remains, however, about the government’s effectiveness in addressing cases of labor exploitation. Vietnamese state-owned labor companies have entered into international contracts that have resulted in incidents of labor trafficking. The government needs to protect workers through better oversight measures in these companies, which it regulates. Vietnam’s efforts to combat trafficking for sexual exploitation could be enhanced by cooperating with Cambodia to address cross-border issues, including how to repatriate and care for victims.

Prevention
The government partners with multiple international organizations on anti-trafficking studies and surveys, and there is limited prevention measures in at-risk communities through leaflets and community trainers. The government-controlled Vietnam Women’s Union sponsored a mass media campaign using television and newspapers. In other measures not specific to trafficking, the government is providing limited funds for development projects to increase compulsory education to nine years, and vocational and micro-credit programs for at-risk women and youth.

Prosecution
An inter-ministerial working group, chaired by the deputy prime minister, coordinates anti-sex trafficking activities, but clarification of responsibility at the agency level is needed to focus government action. Vietnam has a statute that prohibits sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women and children. The government investigates, arrests, and convicts sex traffickers; however, it does not make comprehensive statistics on arrests and convictions available, so these efforts cannot be fully evaluated. General statistics on trafficking in persons are not kept, but a much-needed proposed project would create a data collection system within a new crime statistics office. The government has taken part in bilateral police cooperation to combat trafficking, sending officials to Cambodia and China for better information sharing. The government is also addressing corruption. High-profile efforts include bringing four trafficking cases to trial against local government officials in 2002, and one high-profile 2003 case, in which over 150 persons, including ex-ministerial and law enforcement officials, were indicted for prostitution and migrant smuggling.

Protection
The government should take additional steps to ensure that victims are not abused. Many women found engaged in prostitution are not jailed or given criminal records, but placed in one of over 40 rehabilitation centers. These centers reportedly provide medical treatment, vocational training, and counseling in efforts to deter the victims’ return to prostitution. However, Vietnam’s efforts in rehabilitating some victims can be controversial. The centers have been criticized for conducting “reeducation” and limiting victims’ freedom of movement.

ZAMBIA (Tier 2)

Zambia is primarily a source country for men, women, and children trafficked to South Africa for labor and commercial sexual exploitation, and a destination country for women trafficked from Thailand for commercial sexual exploitation. Until the April 2002 cease-fire, Zambians were sometimes abducted and forcibly conscripted in rebel groups during the civil war in Angola. Internal trafficking of children, both for labor and for sexual exploitation, is also a major problem.

The Government of Zambia 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. Though strong on prevention and protection efforts, particularly to exploitative child labor, Zambia needs to step up its law enforcement efforts.

Prevention
The government works actively with an international NGO to address child labor. It works with international partners to remove children from exploitative work in prostitution, domestic service, hawking, and mining. It supports public awareness campaigns. Ministry officials at all levels are receiving training and sensitization about the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The government implemented programs to rehabilitate child prostitutes and other street children. Zambia also abolished fees for primary schools, waived uniform requirements in rural areas, established volunteer-based community schools for children who have fallen behind in their studies, and focused on “girl-friendly” education initiatives, all measures designed to reduce the vulnerability of children to trafficking. School curricula are being updated and new “schools without walls” allow children to be educated on the streets, minimizing the time away from work. Street children are offered counseling services. The government also is strengthening the district level coordination to empower HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children, including extension of micro-credit programs to families living with HIV/AIDS.

Prosecution
Zambia’s constitution bans trafficking in children under the age of eighteen, as well as trafficking in women for immoral activities. The constitution also prohibits slavery and forced labor. The government actively investigates accusations of trafficking. The government assisted in the repatriation of two Zambian girls trafficked to Ireland and charged two Congolese (DRC) nationals with abduction and rape. In one recent case, a police officer was sentenced to 9 years’ labor for the rape of a minor girl. The government also worked with Angolan officials to resolve abduction cases from the civil war and with the government of Botswana in a case of suspected trafficking that was eventually proven false. The Employment Act requires anyone taking young Zambians to another country for employment to obtain government approval. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security’s Child Labor Unit is charged with enforcing labor laws, but inadequate training and resources result in weak enforcement. The government is taking steps to improve its capacity to monitor its borders.

Protection
The government is assisting in the repatriation of two girls trafficked to Ireland and has agreed to provide counseling. The government has provided medical aid, personnel, and facilities for programs that have removed over 2,400 children from exploitative labor situations. The government supports the protection efforts of non-governmental organizations. Victims are not treated as criminals.

ZIMBABWE (Tier 2)

Zimbabwe is primarily a source country for men, women, and children trafficked to South Africa for farm labor and commercial sexual exploitation, as well as a transit country for persons trafficked from Asia, Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique to South Africa. As a result of Zimbabwe’s recent economic downturn and a growing number of HIV/AIDS orphans and child-headed households, internal trafficking of young women for commercial sexual exploitation is a growing problem.

The Government of Zimbabwe 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. Zimbabwe should improve its anti-trafficking performance through stepped up law enforcement efforts.

Prevention
The Child Labor Task Force Committee and the Department of Welfare work with NGOs to train adults and children on identification of exploitation of children. School curriculum and other information programs raise children’s awareness of child exploitation. The government supports programs to create educational opportunities for poor children, operates 15 training centers for out-of-school children throughout the country, and administers programs enhancing economic self-sufficiency for women.

Prosecution
Zimbabwe has no specific anti-trafficking law, but penalties do exist for abduction, forced labor, and transporting persons across the border for sexual exploitation. Child labor is regulated; children under 18 are prohibited from working during school hours without governmental permission, and from working at night or in hazardous conditions. The Sexual Offences Act, passed in 2001, outlaws procurement and forced prostitution and carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison and a fine. The government cooperated with 20 other countries in a ten-month investigation of child pornography. There is no evidence of governmental involvement in trafficking. Two humanitarian workers were dismissed for sexual abuse of refugees. The government is working with INTERPOL and neighboring immigration authorities to prevent trafficking of children for prostitution.

Protection
The government has established Victim Friendly Courts for victims of sexual abuse, who includes trafficked persons. Child friendly legal facilities now link police stations, hospitals, social welfare, families, community leaders, and prosecutors together in abuse cases involving children. The government, especially law enforcement, is supporting international organizations and NGOs assisting trafficking victims.

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Updated: March 14, 2011


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Lea el artículo completo

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.

Read the full article

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.

Read the full article

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.

Lea el artículo completo

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.

Read the full article

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).

Lea el artículo completo

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%).

Read the full article

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.

Read the full article

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.

Read the full article

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.

Lea el artículo completo

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.

Read the full article

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.

Read the full article

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.

All other copyrighted materials © the copyright holder.

Copyrighted materials are presented for non-profit 

public educational 'fair use' purposes only.