HomeNewsBriefOperation Involves 25 Nations in Effort Against Human Trafficking
BRIEF

Operation Involves 25 Nations in Effort Against Human Trafficking

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 29 JUL 2016 BY SEAN TJADEN EN

A transnational operation against human trafficking rescued more than 2,700 people and dismantled multiple smuggling rings in Latin America and elsewhere, shedding light on the complex nature of this largely hidden and very lucrative criminal trade.

A variety of police agencies, including Interpol, reported making a significant dent in the world of illegal human trafficking via an operation dubbed Spartacus III. The operation initially focused on three of Latin America’s busiest airports, Ministro Pistarini, in Buenos Aires, El Dorado in Bogotá and Guarulhos in Sao Paulo. It expanded to include the participation of 25 countries.

Nearly 900 Peruvian authorities took part in the operation and rescued more than 400 individuals from forced labor and sexual exploitation in the mining town of La Rinconada. Spartacus III is also credited with closing an adoption agency in Brazil that authorities said trafficked in eastern European infants and toddlers, reports La Prensa.

The umbrella operation also dismantled a high profile Colombia-China trafficking network known as “Paniagua,” that allegedly is responsible for sending hundreds of Latin American women and girls into sex work in China.

The effects of the operation will be felt “much further than the Americas,” Interpol's head of police services, Tim Morris, told El Espectador.

The 25 countries that took part are: Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain, St. Marten, Uruguay, The United States, and Venezuela.

InSight Crime Analysis

Human trafficking is a very lucrative and, compared to drug trafficking, underreported criminal phenomenon. In an introductory letter for the US State Department’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, Secretary of State John Kerry estimated the industry to be worth $150 billion per year.

The Spartacus III operation is noteworthy for its integration of so many cooperating nations, which demonstrates the importance of international cooperation in combatting this crime without borders. It also sheds light on the many different faces of the illegal industry, ranging from sexual exploitation to forced labor and even illegal adoption.

While the most recent human trafficking reports may have given sub par marks to Latin American countries' efforts to combat this plague, the operation's multinational approach is a good strategy for encouraging all countries to take human trafficking seriously.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Human Trafficking 

“It’s not just a matter of law enforcement; it’s a matter of moral obligation to end slavery of any kind on this planet, and we have to work at it,” Kerry wrote in the State Department report.

The operation was timed to coincide with World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, which is July 30. It will be interesting to see if Spartacus III is a show put on for that special occasion or if the international effort to combat human trafficking can be sustained year round and its coordination mechanisms replicated on a more regular basis.

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

COSTA RICA / 9 AUG 2019

Authorities in Panama and Costa Rica have dismantled an international human smuggling ring, highlighting the success of police cooperation in…

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 1 JUL 2016

Organized crime continues to profit from human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual trafficking of vulnerable populations throughout Latin America, according…

BOLIVIA / 4 APR 2014

In 2013, the number of human trafficking cases reported in Bolivia was more than 10 times higher than nine years…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.