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    Latin America fights human trafficking

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    SANTIAGO, Chile – The number is staggering.

    [captionpix imgsrc=”https://thecostaricanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/latam.jpg” align=”left” captiontext=”Trafficking in persons is one of the worst violations of human rights,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said.”]There are an estimated 2.5 million people being trafficked at any given time throughout the world, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

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    “In Latin America alone, the number of human trafficking victims is around 700,000. I am talking about estimates because we know data, in most countries, are imprecise,” said Bo Mathiesen, UNODC’s regional representative for Brazil and the Southern Cone, during the Second Ibero-American Summit Against Trafficking of Human Beings, held recently in Santiago, Chile.

    Women, girls and boys represent 90% of human trafficking victims worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines human trafficking as “using, for one’s advantage and in an abusive manner, the qualities of a person. In order to be effective, the traffickers must recruit, transport, transfer, harbor or receive persons.”

    “Trafficking in persons is one of the worst violations of human rights,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said during the launching of the United Nations Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, in 2010. “It is the slavery of modern times.”

    Human trafficking victims are often taken from Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and the Antilles, but Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador and Peru are emerging as hotbeds for the crime, according to the Organization of American States (OAS).

    “It is estimated that, yearly, close to 100,000 women and adolescents from these countries are led by deception and false promises of work in the United States, Spain, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Israel, Japan and other Asian countries,” wrote Fernanda Ezeta, with the Mexican office of the International Migration Organization (IMO) in the “Trafficking in Persons: Basic Aspects” report.

    “The regions of Central America and the Caribbean are experiencing increased rates of trafficking and slavery of women, girls and boys for sexual exploitation, with different characteristics and challenges which must be considered when designing public strategies,” the report read. “In addition to this, the region suffers from a lack of strategies for prevention, protection and bringing the traffickers before the courts.”

    The General Directorate of the Spanish Civil Guard reported “around 70 percent of the victims of human trafficking in that country are women from Latin America.”

    [captionpix imgsrc=”https://thecostaricanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/latam21.jpg” align=”right” captiontext=”In Latin America alone, the number of human trafficking victims is around 700,000.”]Data from the United Nations estimate that organized crime derives US$30 billion from human trafficking annually, only surpassed by weapons and narcotics trafficking.

    “[We are] convinced that to advance our fight in the crime of human trafficking, international cooperation is necessary,”
    But officials throughout the Americas are strengthening their fight against human trafficking.

    Attorney generals and officials from throughout Latin America, the United States and Spain recently met at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile, creating an initiative where their nations will work together to curtail the crime.

    The initiative calls for the strengthening of prosecution and provide better protection to victims and witnesses of the crime. It also mandates countries exchange information regarding missing persons who are suspected of being victims of human trafficking and notifying officials when a suspect has been arrested on human-trafficking charges.

    “The members of the Ibero-American Association of Public Ministries, as well as the Public Ministries within MERCOSUR, sent the Public Ministry of Chile their profound interest in taking a new step in the fight against human trafficking,” said Chilean Attorney General Sabas Chahuán during the closing ceremonies of the Second Ibero-American Summit against the Trafficking of Human Beings.

    The initiative also empowers officials throughout the region to freeze or seize assets that derived from human trafficking.

    “[We are] convinced that to advance our fight in the crime of human trafficking, international cooperation is necessary,” the initiative stated. “[There must be] cooperation between organizations in charge of criminal prosecutions, which includes the area of investigations as well as the attention and protection of victims and witnesses, according to the role carried out by the respective legal systems.”

    By Adrián Martínez – Infosurhoy.com

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