HomeNewsBriefAuthorities Dismantle Child Trafficking Network in Venezuela
BRIEF

Authorities Dismantle Child Trafficking Network in Venezuela

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 4 SEP 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Authorities in Venezuela have arrested four suspected members of a child trafficking network that used a children's foundation as a cover operation, highlighting the country's involvement in the disturbing regional trade.

The arrests took place near Ciudad Guayana, in the northeastern Bolivar department, after a woman reported the theft of her child. According to EFE, the captors had previously told the woman they worked for a non-profit children's organization. They convinced her to board a vehicle with them on the pretext of enrolling her child in a social welfare program but fled with the infant after she exited the vehicle to sign some papers.

Among those arrested were an official from the nearby Caroni municipality and the Chilean manager of the Venezuelan branch of timber company Masisa. The Masisa manager allegedly bought infants from other members of the network, for a price of around $11,000 each (70,000 bolivares).

According to authorities, the group utilized the non-profit as a front, offering charity packages to low-income families, reported El Universal. The group is believed to have operated with the help of corrupt officials, who charged a fee to make transactions look legal.

It is unclear how many children were trafficked out of the country, but Venezuelan officials said at least two girls were sent to Chile and one to Brazil.

InSight Crime Analysis

In 2011, Venezuela was ranked a Tier 3 on the US State Department's human trafficking "watch list," based on the country's failure to adequately combat the practice. Though the country was designated a Tier 2 in the 2013 report after strengthening anti-trafficking laws, it continues to be a source, transit and destination country for victims.

While the news reports do not make it explicit, it is possible that the stolen infants were later sold into illegal adoptions outside Venezuela, something seen in other countries in the region. The theft of infants to be sold into illegal adoptions by criminal groups is a major problem in Guatemala. Cases have also occurred in Mexico and Brazil.

The Venezuela-Chile connection in the case is somewhat surprising, as Chile is not considered a major trafficking hub, though a Chilean human trafficking network that used Peru and Ecuador as transit countries was uncovered in June.

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

HUMAN RIGHTS / 3 SEP 2016

The Mexican government has announced a new strategy to stop migrants from hopping the infamous north-bound freight train known as…

ELITES AND CRIME / 27 SEP 2018

Recent US sanctions against four top Venezuela government officials and close collaborators, among them the country’s first lady, add new…

HOMICIDES / 11 DEC 2012

The recent murder of two Venezuelan policemen brings the total number of officers killed in the Caracas metropolitan…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…