HomeNewsBriefHuman Trafficking Network Dismantled in Panama
BRIEF

Human Trafficking Network Dismantled in Panama

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 17 JUL 2017 BY PARKER ASMANN EN

A Panama court has convicted and sentenced three members of a Nicaraguan-led human trafficking network focused on exploiting people for manual labor, a promising sign for a region still struggling to combat the illicit industry.

The three Nicaraguans were each sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Panama court July 13, for leading a human trafficking network in the country that exploited the labor of 11 fellow Nicaraguans, El Nuevo Diario reported

One of the group's members, Rosa María Ortega Rivera, was allegedly in charge of purchasing roundtrip plane tickets for the workers and providing them with $500, the minimum amount tourists need to enter Panama, according to El Nuevo Diario. 

SEE ALSO: Nicaragua News and Profiles

Out of economic necessity, the group of workers allegedly came to Panama from Nicaragua after being promised construction work and a monthly salary of $600. But after arriving in October 2013, the group was instead forced to work long hours without pay, and to sleep in a cold, dirty warehouse with little access to food, according to El Nuevo Diario.

The conviction comes four years after some of the workers filed an initial complaint with Panamanian authorities in 2013.

InSight Crime Analysis 

The conviction is a promising sign. In the last two years, authorities in Panama have dismantled 14 human trafficking organizations, bringing 24 traffickers and 8 leaders before authorities, according to statistics from Panama's National Commission Against Human Trafficking (Comisión Nacional Contra la Trata de Personas en Panamá).

Still, as a region, Latin America is struggling to combat human trafficking and labor exploitation. Just four countries in the region --  Guyana, the Bahamas, Colombia and Chile -- fully comply with US standards outlined in the US State Department's 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. 

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Human Trafficking

The recently dismantled network was also a sign that human trafficking trends in the region may be shifting. Human trafficking victims have typically migrated north into Europe and the United States. But south to south trafficking is increasing. In another recent example in 2016, children in Bolivia were reportedly being trafficked south into Argentina to be exploited in factories and workshops.

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

GENDER AND CRIME / 5 MAY 2021

As sex trafficking has soared in Venezuela, seemingly legitimate modeling agencies are repeatedly being linked to cases of human trafficking,…

COCAINE / 3 DEC 2021

Authorities in Panama are intercepting massive loads of cocaine at ports and in coastal waters, showing how the country is…

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 16 MAR 2021

A collaborative effort by authorities in Uruguay and Spain to dismantle an international sex trafficking network reveals that the South…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…