See also:

Added: Oct. 15, 2011

Context from 2010

Paraguay

U.S. Embassy cable on human trafficking conditions

...Most trafficking victims depart Paraguay via land border crossings near Ciudad del Este, Asuncion, and Encarnacion. The Women's Secretariat provided direct aid to 19 women in 2009. Of these, two were trafficked domestically, while the others went to Argentina (53%), Bolivia (31%), Japan (8%), and Spain (8%.).

Anecdotal evidence suggests that each year several thousand women, children, adolescents, and trans-gendered prostitutes (taxi boys) are trafficked internationally. An estimated 80 percent of victims are young women and adolescent girls. The Women's Secretariat (SMPR) estimated in January 2010 that 95 percent of TIP victims are exploited for commercial sexual purposes and that 52 percent of victims were minors.

...Paraguayan women, adolescent girls, and children are most at risk of being trafficked, primarily for purposes of sexual exploitation. Many street children are also trafficking victims. Studies show that most victims worked as street vendors when traffickers targeted them and that 70 percent of victims had drug addictions. Poor indigenous women living in the interior are also at significant risk. Argentine authorities speaking at seminars in Paraguay noted they frequently require translation assistance from
Paraguayan consulates to interview TIP victims who speak only [the indigenous language] Guarani...

U.S. State Dept.

Feb. 17, 2010

See also:

Added: Oct. 15, 2011

Historic context from 2005

Paraguay

U.S. Embassy cable on human trafficking conditions

TIP (Trafficking in Persons) Senior Reporting Officer Linda Brown visited Paraguay as part of a four-country tour of South America.  In meetings with Embassy officers, governing party officials, and representatives of NGOs, Brown discussed Paraguay's progress in combating trafficking in persons…

Brown had a number of meetings with various officials and NGOs, raising a number of issues in Paraguay's efforts to combat TIP.

Minister for Children and Adolescents Mercedes Britez de Buzo 

--The Minister described efforts to combat the trafficking in children, pointing to participation in Embassy Montevideo's regional project, participation in the Embassy's bilateral project, and efforts to criminalize child pornography...

-- She spoke of the need to prosecute traffickers but conceded, based upon her own experiences as a prosecutor and judge, that it is not career enhancing in the judicial system to focus on trafficking or children's issues.

Attorney General Oscar Latorre and Prosecutor Teresa Martinez

--Latorre offered general remarks about the importance of stopping trafficking, but was not positive about prospects for the creation of a specialized unit of anti-trafficking prosecutors.

 --Martinez described the history of TIP prosecutions in Paraguay, observing that the issue was unknown just 18 months ago, and is now an important focus in the Public Ministry (prosecutor’s office)...

Martinez described the difficulties in getting victims to cooperate, and the Attorney General's lack of legal authority to investigate independently.

Independent Women's Rights Activist and Consultant Andrea Cid

 --The discussion primarily dealt with Paraguayan culture and the ways in which it complicates both government and NGO efforts to fight trafficking.  In the eyes of many here, prostitution is not a bad thing in and of itself.  Given the levels of stark poverty in the country, many feel that prostitution is a legitimate way to earn a living.  Many families, she said, knowingly sell their own daughters into prostitution abroad in the hope that the girls will send money home.

--The legal culture in Paraguay complicates efforts to stop trafficking.  She described the Penal Code and the entire judicial system as lenient, with laws prescribing mild penalties for crimes such as trafficking. The authorities are unable to stop traffickers from threatening victims who file complaints with prosecutors.

U.S. State Dept.

Jan. 04, 2005