HomeNewsBriefReport Details Peru’s Role in Haiti-Brazil Human Smuggling
BRIEF

Report Details Peru’s Role in Haiti-Brazil Human Smuggling

BRAZIL / 27 MAY 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A newspaper investigation has shed light on the role “coyotes” and corrupt Peruvian police play in a trade that sees thousands of migrants from Haiti illegally smuggled into Brazil via Peru as they desperately seek a new life in this South American economic giant.

Reporters from Brazil’s Folha visited the tri-border region between Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, where, according to the newspaper, the migrants face the most dangerous part of their journey.

They detailed how migrants fall into the hands of human smugglers, known as “coyotes.” Migrants pay up to $4,000 for the services of these coyotes, who often rob them, extort them and subject them to terrible conditions.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Human Smuggling

According to Folha, before undertaking the last part of the journey, coyotes keep the Haitians locked in hotel rooms in Puerto Maldonado — capital of the Madre de Dios gold mining region of Peru — 233 kilometers from the Brazilian border town of Assis, in Acre state.

Corrupt Peruvian police also take a cut of the profits, reported Folha. They tax the drivers who take the migrants across the border, and extort the migrants themselves under threats of deportation.

InSight Crime Analysis

Since the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, residents of the impoverished island nation have poured into Brazil searching out economic opportunities. While migratory flows have traditionally pointed north, Brazil has become a popular choice because of its status as Latin America’s largest economy. This has contributed to its rise not only as a center of undocumented migrants, but also sex trafficking and slave labor.

The route from Haiti to Brazil usually starts in the Dominican Republic. From there, migrants fly into Ecuador — a country known for its lax migration policies — and travel by land down through Peru.

Both Peru and Brazil have taken measures to stem the resulting human smuggling trade. In March, Peruvian authorities began a campaign informing migrants of the dangers of crossing the border illegally. The state government of Acre, Brazil, meanwhile, requested a temporary shutdown of the border crossing with Peru in January, and more recently, Brazilian authorities launched their own information campaign.

However, halting the trade will be a challenge. Madre de Dios is a largely lawless territory rife with illegal mining and forced prostitution, while Brazil’s expansive shared borders have proven hard to control. As Folha indicates, official corruption in Peru is also likely an important facilitator of the trade.

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

CARIBBEAN / 12 AUG 2013

Authorities in the Dominican Republic have broken up a people smuggling ring that moved Cubans to Puerto Rico, highlighting how…

PERU / 15 MAY 2014

Peru is poised to become the focal point of global efforts to combat the production and transportation of illegal narcotics…

BRAZIL / 11 SEP 2012

Brazilian police are trying out drones that could be used to track criminal activity in Rio de Janeiro's favelas, following…

Institutional Content

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. …