Human Trafficking in Latin America Part 2

Human Trafficking in Latin America Part 2

On November 5, 2018, Posted by , In Information Reports,Latin America, With Comments Off on Human Trafficking in Latin America Part 2

Written by Brennan Albrecht

Human trafficking is a world-wide problem that has taken on many forms. As discussed
in last week’s report, human trafficking can come as forced labor, sex trafficking, migrant
smuggling, or participation in drug smuggling, among other things. The United Nations has
extensively tracked human trafficking throughout the world through gathering law enforcement
and intelligence data from agencies in nearly every country where it is available. The data paints
a fair picture of the sort of trafficking happening in Latin America, as well as the US and
Canada, which both feed and fight the human trafficking happening in the western hemisphere.
In North and Central America, the UN reported that nearly 9,000 victims were found during the
time period of their study. Approximately 5,800 victims were detected in South America.
When broken down by regions within the western hemisphere, the UN reports that in
North America (encompassing Mexico to Canada), about sixty percent of victims of trafficking
are adult women, and another seventeen percent are female minors. Of all victims of trafficking
in North America, about fifty-five percent of victims are forced into sex trafficking, with another
40 percent forced into labor (likely due to migrant smuggling). About a quarter of all North
American trafficking victims were found more than 3,500 kilometers from their place of origin, an
unusually high percentage.

Central American and Caribbean victims are unusually composed of minor females, who
made up just over half of all found victims in 2014. Adult females made up another 26 percent.
As found in North and South America, over half of all trafficking victims from this region were
victims of sex trafficking. However, 92 percent of these victims were found at a short distance
from their place of origin (meaning within their home country or across a neighboring border
close to home) as opposed to the long distances seen in North America. This could be a by
product of weak law enforcement and investigative power by these countries, which are among
the poorest in the western hemisphere.

South America’s human trafficking is a near mix of data from North and Central America.
45 percent of victims were adult women in 2014, with another 29 percent female minors. South
American had a higher number of male minors trafficked at eleven percent of all victims. Again,
over half were sex trafficking victims, with around 30 percent trafficked into various other
criminal enterprises. Most of these fell into short distance trafficking, but about ten percent fell
into long distance. Brazil reports having the highest rate of trafficking, with nearly three quarters
of all South American victims found in Brazil.

In short, human trafficking is very complex and difficult to fight, especially in the
developing Latin American countries where law enforcement has few resources and teeth. As
these studies continue to highlight efforts to fight it and problems that need to be addressed,
more action can be taken. Already, hundreds of non-profit and government agencies are taking
matters into their own hands by coordinating efforts with law enforcement and intelligence
agencies to bring down trafficking rings one at a time. Of course, poverty alleviation and
education are the most effective measures at long-term prevention, but as of now, the nations
of the world must commit to better law enforcement and victim services to promote healthier
social stability and family growth.

Data found at the UN Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016
And at a report filed by the Americas Society/Council of the Americas based on the UN report
(see for good data visualizations)

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