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Female victims and children are brought to the country from across South America — Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Peru — as well as from the Caribbean. Argentine women and children are also trafficked in their own country. All the victims run a serious risk of being sold into sexual slavery or into forced labor, such as in sweatshops or on farms. Women have a much higher chance of ending up in prostitution rings than men do. Argentina, a wealthy country in South America that is also a popular tourist spot globally, is not known as a symbol of outward depravity for women and girls.
Women and girls who end up being trafficked in Argentina go to the country often lured on false pretenses for jobs. If they seek jobs in agriculture camps, for example, they can be pushed into prostitution, the US report noted. For a long time, the Argentine government has looked the other way or acted as an accomplice in the human trafficking market. A law on the Prevention and Punishment of Sexual Exploitation and Victims Assistance was passed in , but how well it is enforced is not measured by the gender-gap index, either.
Since , 3, women and girls have been rescued from human trafficking operations. Moreover, brothels are banned in the country, but criminal rings have found loopholes around the federal laws. Men and boys are also trafficked in Argentina, mostly for forced labor. To a limited extent, Argentine men, women and children are subjected to sex and labor trafficking outside the country. Besides the federal law, other remedies are slowly being formulated in Argentina to address trafficking of women and girls and to help those who are rescued as the problem becomes more open.
The US government estimates that at least , Latin American women are trafficked internationally each year. It does not offer statistics on how many women are trafficked in Argentina, given the shadowy nature of the phenomenon. Globally, the US estimates that 20 million men, women and children could be held as slaves at any given time. Human trafficking in Argentina became highly visible only about 15 years ago. Lujan Araujo, who works there, explained how human trafficking operates in Argentina. A girl from Misiones [an Argentine province], for example, answered an ad in the newspaper for a nanny in Buenos Aires.
She was held as a slave in the middle of Buenos Aires along with her daughter. They threatened to harm her child if she tried to escape. When the girls enter the brothels they are often gang-raped and beaten to break them, Araujo said. They do the most horrible things that you can imagine. One of the girls testified that she was locked inside a closet with a dead friend who had tried to escape. Foundation staff members provide the women and girls — from 12 to 40 years old — with skills to find regular jobs. The foundation will also provide a lawyer, social worker and psychologist as part of its free services to clients.
Argentina ranks as a Tier 2 nation in human trafficking by the US State Department, among a list of about 70 countries as varied as Afghanistan in Asia and Chad in Africa. The rankings go up to Tier 3, with a Special Case above that: Somalia. It is not just human trafficking plaguing the lives of women and girls who either migrate to Argentina or are native born. Sexual harassment and violence against women are normal here, Araujo said. Much of the violence against women in the country is bound up in the machismo mind-set, an attitude found throughout Latin America in varying degrees.
That rate is considered comparable to rates in Europe; elsewhere in Latin America the rates are much higher. A new president, Mauricio Macri, was elected in December Besides being tricked with false offers of work, some girls are kidnapped or sold by their own family members into human trafficking rings and prostitution in Argentina.
There are many cases of girls 13 or 14 years old who are forced to work as prostitutes. We have cases where mothers sell their daughters because of economic reasons. They may be pressured by their husbands. The accused were found not guilty because of insufficient evidence. During the investigation, we found evidence of a woman who was involved with moving women to Spain and we know that she had links the traffickers who kidnapped Marita.
Laila Natucce, who directs a small organization in Buenos Aires combating human trafficking, said that there have been many cases where the judicial system has been involved in trafficking women. Girls have reported seeing the chief of police coming to collect money from the traffickers, they know that they cannot go to the police.
According to the US report, an Argentine government entity found that police were complicit in 40 percent of sex trafficking cases either as purchasers of sex or as personal contacts of brothel owners. Some officials, mainly in the provinces, including police officers and mayors, protect brothels where trafficking goes on. Nongovernment organizations and officials have reported that judges have received bribes from traffickers and failed to adequately investigate cases. She has disguised herself as a trafficker to infiltrate brothels, pretending to look for girls to buy so she could learn how these institutions worked.
Johanna Higgs is from Perth, Australia. She is working on her Ph. She speaks English and Spanish. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. January 24, by Johanna Higgs. A painted street-art image in Buenos Aires of Susana Trimarco, whose daughter was kidnapped in a small Argentine town and has not been found. Trimarco opened a foundation caring for female victims of human trafficking after her daughter vanished. Johanna Higgs. Related Posts. This Week's Most Popular. Chris Gunness. Lowell Flanders. Elizabeth Colton. Ivana Ramirez. PassBlue needs your support to stay strong:.
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Argentina Has a Problem: Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls