HomeNewsBriefBust Highlights Paraguay to Europe Sex Trafficking
BRIEF

Bust Highlights Paraguay to Europe Sex Trafficking

GENDER AND CRIME / 10 JUN 2016 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

A joint operation involving authorities in Paraguay, Spain and France has broken up a multi-country sex trafficking network, illustrating some of the lesser-known international dynamics of this illicit business.

In a recent press release, the Paraguayan Attorney General's office announced that the National Police, in conjunction with their French and Spanish counterparts, had broken up an operation that trafficked Paraguayan women to Europe for the purpose of sexually exploiting them.

The suspected traffickers allegedly lured women from one of Paraguay's poorest areas, the department of Caaguazú, and from the criminal hotspot of Ciudad del Este by offering them false promises of well-paid jobs in Europe. Once they were in Europe, the women were coerced into prostitution at private residences in France and massage parlors in Spain.

A June 3 press release from the European Union law enforcement body Europol, which supported the investigation, stated 15 victims were identified for protection and 14 suspects were arrested, some of whom are also being investigated for money laundering and drug trafficking.

According to the investigation, the trafficking ring was based in Ciudad del Este and was led by the Aquino Arca family, whose members include current and former members of the local police force.

InSight Crime Analysis

Despite its relatively small population of less than 7 million people, Paraguay serves as a major source country for sex trafficking in Europe.

In a recent interview with Ultima Hora, Irma Pérez Vecvort, the director of the Association for the Prevention, Reinsertion and Attention to Prostituted Women (Asociación para la Prevención, Reinserción y Atención a la Mujer Prostituida - APRAMP), said over a third of women working as prostitutes in Spain are Paraguayan. According to a December 2015 report from APRAMP, many of these women fell victim to schemes similar to the one described above.

The factors driving the sexual exploitation of Paraguayan women in Europe are complex. Poverty and lack of opportunities in Paraguay make it relatively easy for traffickers to lure with false promises of future employment. But the Paraguayan government's general lack of attention to this issue has also likely contributed to the persistence of the problem.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Human Trafficking

The most recent Trafficking in Persons report from the US State Department (pdf) found that the government "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking," and that the "law enforcement response in some parts of the country was severely limited or delayed." The report also described measures aimed at identifying and protecting victims of human trafficking as "uneven."

However, the report recognizes Paraguay is "making significant efforts" to comply with international standards, a statement reinforced by this recent international action.

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

COLOMBIA / 8 JAN 2019

Turbulence reigned in 2018, but there was one constant: the flow of Venezuelans fleeing their country. The unceasing migration has…

PARAGUAY / 9 FEB 2015

Police in Paraguay have arrested an army captain on charges of running a transnational drug trafficking ring, highlighting the extent…

BRAZIL / 16 MAY 2013

Authorities have dismantled two separate human trafficking rings in Ecuador and Brazil linked to South and East Asia, highlighting the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…