HomeNewsBriefMigration-Friendly Ecuador Sees 3,000 Annual Human Trafficking Victims
BRIEF

Migration-Friendly Ecuador Sees 3,000 Annual Human Trafficking Victims

ECUADOR / 11 JUL 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Authorities in Ecuador estimate 3,000 people are victims of human trafficking in the country every year, a number that underscores the country’s serious problem with migrant smuggling and exploitation facilitated in part by lax immigration laws.  

Police in Ecuador estimate that around 60 percent of the 3,000 yearly human trafficking victims in the country are women, reported La Hora.

Authorities have identified human trafficking as one of the five most serious problems linked to violence in the northern border region, where the crime is reportedly more pronounced than in other areas of the country.

In response, the government is working to develop mechanisms to combat human trafficking in ports, airports, and border patrol stations, and particularly in the provinces of Sucumbios, Carchi and Esmeraldas, which border Colombia. 

The government has also put highly trained civilians in charge of the national migration agency. Security Ministry sources consulted by La Hora said these officials had been taught how to identify the falsified documents that human traffickers use to bring victims into the country.

InSight Crime Analysis

Ecuador’s loose immigration controls have helped facilitate the country’s emergence as a human smuggling hub for migrants, and these same lax visa requirements undoubtedly facilitate the trafficking of humans for sexual and labor exploitation as well.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Ecuador

Until September 2010, Ecuador had a “universal citizenship” policy, which allowed foreigners to enter the country without visas. Although Ecuador has since placed some restrictions on the entry of citizens from certain African and Asian nations, the country continues to have some of the most relaxed migration policies in the region.

As a result, Ecuador has seen a flood of Haitian, Cuban and Asian migrants passing through the country en route to popular destinations like Brazil and the United States.

In some cases, human trafficking and human smuggling are also intertwined in Ecuador, with undocumented migrants highly vulnerable to exploitation. In one recent case, authorities discovered an international trafficking network that exploited migrants by forcing them into prostitution to pay off their debts. 

Without changing government migration policies, improved border controls and better-trained government staff may not be enough to stem human smuggling or human trafficking in Ecuador. 

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

EL SALVADOR / 17 NOV 2014

The meeting between Central American Presidents and US Vice President Joe Biden to deal with the crisis of “unaccompanied…

ECUADOR / 14 NOV 2014

An investigation into a maritime drug trafficking operation revealed how the alleged criminals used a series of boat transfers to…

COLOMBIA / 16 DEC 2013

In the slums of Medellin, Colombia, adolescent girls have become the spoils of war and merchandise for criminal gangs; they…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

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. …