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BRIEF

Report Shows Dynamics Of Human Trafficking In Argentina

ARGENTINA / 24 JUN 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

During the last three years, there has been an average of two human trafficking convictions a month in Argentina. These cases shed light on the dynamics of the crime.

According to a report from the country's special trafficking unit, created in 2008, 122 people have been convicted in the last three years as a result of 76 cases, with another 511 people currently facing charges.

Around 70 percent of Argentine human trafficking cases are linked to drug trafficking, according to figures reported by the newspaper La Nacion.

The amount of cases investigated has jumped massively since the dedicated trafficking unit was created, alongside new laws : in 2008 there were just 23 investigations compared to 256 last year.

Breaking down the nationalities of women rescued during the last three years, the report found just over half were Argentine, 33 percent were Paraguayan and the rest were from the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Bolivia. Those from abroad entered with valid passports and tourist visas; there was just one case of a victim using false documentation.

Around a quarter of the victims were underage, mostly between 15 and 17 years old, with one victim just 11.

InSight Crime Analysis

Argentina, a wealthy neighbor to poorer countries like Bolivia and Paraguay, has become a regional trafficking hub in the last few years. While it is clearly making important strides in tackling the crime, it still has a long way to go.

While the recent figures highlight the number of cases investigated, the corresponding number of convictions are far lower -- 19 convictions in 2011 out of 237 cases investigated, for example -- an indicator of the serious challenges in obtaining successful prosecutions. The country continues to fail to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking, according to the US State Department.

In the last six months there have been various arrests of labor trafficking rings, including one estimated to have exploited thousands of Colombians since 2009, with officials estimating labor trafficking victims outnumbered sex trafficking victims by three to one in 2011. However, La Nacion notes that there has been no convictions for labor trafficking for years, indicating a particularly urgent need for action in this area.

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