Sex Trafficking in Latin America

Topics: Human trafficking, Commercial sexual exploitation of children, Prostitution Pages: 9 (2533 words) Published: April 29, 2014

Sex Trafficking in Latin America: Empirical Research on this Ongoing Catastrophe

Prof. Jessica Lane
Women's Biology Research Project
Chantal Caro
April 17, 2014

Coda was a young Nicaraguan teenager who was promised a job in the factories of Guatemala, she was found by a young man known as “A” and he brought her to this new country. She was expecting a new life filled with prosperity and happiness, but when she crossed the border with this man, everything changed. She was brought to a brothel where she was forced to take up to ten clients every single day. After two years of servitude, Coda was able to escape and live to tell the horrible realities she went through, she tells her story as a survivor of sex trafficking. “We had to do it because we couldn’t leave not even for tricks. When they took us to leave we had to go with the same workers and return to the same spot so they could lock us up again. He mistreated us, we weren’t well…” (Guinn & Steglich, 2008). Coda is one of the thousands of women that are trafficked in Latin America; the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation is an everyday reality for the Central American, Southern American, and Caribbean region. It affects each country uniquely, presenting a different combination of challenges to politics, economics, health, communality, and society as a whole.

Sex trafficking is the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of sexually exploiting them (Abadía, Gloria, 2012). These women are forced to take up to 20 clients a day and are prohibited from escape. Control is kept through violence and threats, debts and fines, restriction of access to earnings, physical restraint, use of armed guards, and demonstrations of “license” or impunity through collaboration with corrupt authorities (Springer Science & Business Media, 2011). This is a multi-billion dollar business with an approximate 600,000 to 800,000 women and children being transported across borders worldwide (Lane, Jessica, 2014). The issue is not only within the Latin American region, but globally as well. Statistics show that 70,000 Brazilians, 45,000-50,000 Colombians, and 50,000 Dominicans are trafficking victims in Europe. In addition to Europe and the United States, the Organization of American States (OAS) estimates that 1,700 women from Latin America, primarily Colombians, Peruvians, and Brazilians, are trafficked each year to Japan (Springer Science & Business Media, 2011). An interesting, yet sad fact is that the Dominican Republic is the only country that consistently supplies victims to countries around the globe to further regions. Although there has not been much research to investigate why, this is a sad reality. Dominican women have been trafficked for sexual exploitation to Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and the United States, as well as regions farther afield, including Europe, South America, and the Middle East (United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, 2011). A possible causation of this is the geographical location of the country, in the same way it serves as a midway and transit point for illegal drugs, it serves as a source, transit, and destination country for sex laborers. There is also sex trafficking within Latin America, since the borders are so open and policies are less strict, it is not a hard job to bring women forcefully to another country for sexual exploitation. Another factor is that prostitution is legalized in most countries in Central America and the Caribbean, which leads to a higher risk for a woman to be deceived into trafficking. For example, indigenous women from the Andes or from Caribbean countries such as the Dominican Republic are brought into larger southern American countries such as Argentina and Brazil. Panama attracts as many as 1,000 Colombian migrants per year, many of whom are trafficked or who arrive with entertainment visas to work...

Bibliography: Decker, Michele R. 2013. "Sex Trafficking, Sex Work, and Violence: Evidence for a New Era." International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 120 (2): 113-114. doi:
Lane, Jessica. 2014. Sex Trafficking & Prostitution Powerpoint Presentation.
Meade, Teresa A. 2004. "Labor and Gender in the Chilean Town and Country." Journal of Women 's History 15 (4): 220-224.
Ribando Seekle, Clare. 2013. "Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean.".
Serafini, Paulo. 2012. "Juvenile Prostitution in Brazil: An International Call to Action on Female Sex Trafficking." International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 118 (2): 89. doi:
United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. 2011. "Trafficking of Women and Girls within Central America.": 53-57.
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