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Bolivia Children on Sale for $3: Official

BOLIVIA / 14 JUL 2011 BY JEN SOKATCH EN

A Bolivian official has highlighted the problem of human trafficking in his country, saying that thousands of children are sold to traffickers each year and sent to Argentina.

At a press conference Monday Bolivian Ombudsman Rolando Villena reported that in the southwestern city of Potosi children are sold to traffickers for between three and seven dollars.

He warned that as many as 15,000 children are thought to pass into Argentina each year through three towns in close to the border.

Bolivia's government revealed recently that cases of trafficking in the country have risen 26.4 percent between 2008 and 2010, with the majority of victims aged between 16 and 25.

At a forum on human trafficking held in La Paz, an official from the NGO Vision Mundial explained that child labor is cheap in Bolivia, and demand for it is high in places such as Argentina, Brazil and Chile. He said that the children are often made to sew in sweatshops, or to harvest vegetables.

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