HomeNewsBriefCases Languish as Human Trafficking on the Rise in Bolivia
BRIEF

Cases Languish as Human Trafficking on the Rise in Bolivia

BOLIVIA / 29 NOV 2012 BY GEOFFREY RAMSEY EN

Despite the fact that Bolivian has seen an uptick in human trafficking in recent years, just two trafficking cases in the last six years ended in a conviction, while more than 200 cases have been reported in 2012 alone.

La Opinion reports that according to Patricia Bustamante, the director of the Bolivian Womens’ Development and Service Center, human trafficking is met with near impunity in Bolivia. According to statistics from the Bolivian Human Trafficking Observatory cited by Bustamante, only two human trafficking cases have been successfully convicted since 2006. Meanwhile, the number of cases reported this year alone is 258, up from 190 in 2011.

Bustamante also said that the majority of human trafficking victims are young girls, from 10 to 14 years old, and are generally involved in the sex trade. Most come from major Bolivian cities like La Paz, El Alto, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba.

InSight Crime Analysis

In recent years, Bolivia has become a hub of human trafficking. In 2011 the government said that reported cases of human trafficking had increased by 26.4 percent since 2008. In 2006 the government passed a law calling for eight to 12 years’ imprisonment for those convicted of the crime, but a lack of both enforcement and effective prosecution mean that it is essentially toothless.

The United States Department of State’s 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report found that “a significant number of Bolivians are found in conditions of forced labor in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Spain, the United States, and other countries, usually in sweatshops and agriculture, as well as in domestic service.”

According to government officials and human trafficking experts, much of this has to do with the endemic poverty in the country, especially in rural areas. Initially lured by promises of steady pay, victims end up either forced into the sex trade or made to work involuntarily either in Bolivia or in other countries. Many of these are children, and there is evidence that minors can be “purchased” for as little as three to seven dollars in impoverished areas like the southern city of Potosi.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 24 MAY 2012

The recent arrest of a transnational sex trafficking network in Medellin, Colombia draws attention to the country's importance to the…

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 4 OCT 2011

Peruvian authorities rescued at least 234 women, many of whom had reportedly been trafficked, from brothels in the remote region…

BOLIVIA / 31 MAY 2013

A Bolivian government official says that a recent incident involving coca growers attacking the security forces was spurred by Peruvian…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…