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Status of Human Trafficking in Latin America

NCJ Number
Patricia Phibes
Date Published
34 pages
This paper focuses on recent trends in Latin America that show an increase in slave-like conditions for women and children, as well as in trafficking in women and children from and within Latin America.
This paper compares such trafficking in Latin American with trafficking in humans in other parts of the world. A number of interviews were conducted with selected individuals familiar with the issue and its impacts. A Central Intelligence Agency report states that two million women and children from Asia, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America are tricked each year by traffickers who offer then jobs abroad. Of these two million women and children, approximately 50,000 per year are brought to the United States for prostitution. Approximately 10,000 of these individuals come from Latin America each year. Within Latin America, approximately 40 million children are being lured into prostitution as a result of poor economic conditions. The Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Brazil supply most of the Latin American female prostitutes around the world, especially in Europe. Latin American women and children trafficked to the United States come primarily from Mexico. This report provides detailed information on how the trafficking is conducted, much of it through criminal networks. Public corruption in many of the Latin American countries involved in human trafficking compounds the problem. Generally, however, human trafficking is a transnational problem. All the countries are linked as countries of origin, transit, and destination. It is imperative that the international community develop cooperative strategies and agreements to address a significant problem that not only harms the victims themselves, but increases the coffers and influence of transnational organized crime. 69 notes