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

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / 10 OCT 2017

Peru's Interior Ministry has aired its first trilingual radio program to help better inform the public about human trafficking,…

MONEY LAUNDERING / 9 NOV 2012

A group of Mexicans who are on trial in Nicaragua, accused of posing as Televisa journalists while smuggling millions of…

ARGENTINA / 20 FEB 2019

Since beginning in Brazil with the “Operation Car Wash” (“Operação Lava Jato”) investigation in 2014, the Odebrecht corruption scandal has…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

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…