HomeNewsBriefArgentina Police Free 100s of 'Enslaved' Colombians
BRIEF

Argentina Police Free 100s of 'Enslaved' Colombians

ARGENTINA / 13 JUN 2013 BY CLAIRE O NEILL MCCLESKEY EN

Argentina's authorities have freed 202 Colombians who were lured to that country on the promise of work and then forced to toil in inhumane conditions at a plastics factory, highlighting the country's continued struggle to combat human trafficking and forced labor.

Police arrested 23 Colombians, including the alleged head of the criminal organization that controlled the workers, in a "mega-operation" that spanned 10 provinces and saw 72 simultaneous raids, reported the AFP

The workers were reportedly held in conditions of "labor exploitation," lacking registration, social security, or healthcare. Authorities believe the people in charge of the scheme recruited their fellow Colombians to work in Argentina, then held them illegally in inhuman conditions and forced them to work to pay back their "debts."

Siomara Ayeran, the director of Argentina's customs department, said she suspects that many of the estimated 3,000 Colombians who entered Argentina illegally between 2009 and 2011 were recruited by this criminal organization and were later exploited them, the AFP reported. Authorities in Cordoba discovered the operation after noting several young Colombians arriving at the airport without luggage or money, the Associated Press said

InSight Crime Analysis

Argentina is a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking, including both sexual exploitation and forced labor, according to the US State Department. The State Department lists the country as failing to meet minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, despite attempts to strengthen its anti-human trafficking laws in recent years. In 2011, there were 167 ongoing trafficking prosecutions and 19 convictions, compared to 78 prosecutions and 15 convictions in 2010, the State Department says.

According to Argentine officials, the number of labor trafficking victims, such as the newly freed Colombians, outnumbered sex trafficking victims by three to one in 2011. The "mega-operation" that broke up the Colombian ring appears to have been one of the largest labor trafficking operations in recent years but is far from the only one. In April this year, authorities freed 45 Bolivians from textile workshops in Buenos Aires, and in December 2012, authorities discovered 16 Chinese victims near the border with Uruguay.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 5 MAY 2020

Fears of the coronavirus' spread within Argentina's prisons has ignited inmate protests and led officials to release prisoners to house…

ARGENTINA / 17 FEB 2014

Argentina's defense minister has acknowledged the country is now a drug producer, an admission that underscores the increasing strength of…

ARGENTINA / 24 FEB 2014

Officials in Argentina have expressed concern over high levels of drug consumption and rising drug violence in the north and…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.