Peruvian Net against Child Pornography

The Peruvian Net against Child Pornography is a non-profit organisation that works against Child Pornography, Child Sexual Abuse, Child Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons and especially aganist Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Peru and Latin America. We are working and liaising with institutions that aim the same objectives.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Trafficking in Persons

What is Trafficking in Persons?
is the XXI century version of slavery in contemporary times in a globalized world. The victims are children, women or men. Anyone may become a victim of trafficking, no matter what kind of exploitation he/she is subject to, as long as his/her situation meets the following criteria:
  • Movement of people across or within borders
  • Limitation or deprivation of freedom
  • Exploitation, whether forced labour, forced prostitution, or other forms of servitude

White slavery vs. trafficking in persons

The term white slavery was used by the end of the 19th century and it referred to European women who were taken to Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa with the purpose of sexually exploiting them (as concubines or prostitutes, among others).
Today anyone may be a victim of exploitation, not only light-skinned women and not only just for sexual purposes. Therefore, we currently use the term trafficking in persons since anyone --women, girls, boys and men -- may become a victim of any form of this crime.

Trafficking in persons vs. smuggling of migrants

In essence, the smuggling of migrants is a crime against a State. It means facilitating the illegal entry of a person into a State of which the person is not a national or a permanent resident in order to obtain financial or other material benefits. In several countries people who perform this kind of illegal activity are called “coyotes”. Smuggled migrants are usually free once they arrive at their destination; trafficking victims are not.
Trafficking in persons, on the other hand, is a crime against the individual. In this case the person is a victim of exploitation and his/her freedom is limited in one way or another. Also, these people are transported within a country or to another country, and they are not always entered into another State legally. Trafficking in persons has been described as a modern form of slavery. It is a serious human rights violation and is reported by the United Nations to be the fastest growing form of transnational organized crime.

Why do people become victims of trafficking in person?

There are several reasons for men, women and children being contacted, recruited, transported, sold and purchased by trafficking networks. The principle reasons are the lack of opportunities and the fact that traffickers take advantage of the dreams of people who live in a situation of poverty and unemployment and have little access to education.
Research being conducted by IOM indicates that under such circumstances some people consider the possibility of taking great risks and are prone to believe the promises of others and they decide to travel in search of a “better future”.
In addition, frequently these people are willing to take the risk of leaving behind their environment, their families and their friends without knowing exactly what they are getting into. Often, they are also eager to travel to an unknown place where they will sometimes find a different culture and/or language.

How does trafficking in persons operate?

Some people are attracted with the promise of money, well paid jobs or education opportunities.
Some people are recruited by work agencies that make all the necessary arrangements for the trip. The trafficker usually covers all the travel expenses – documents such as passport, visa and ticket – thus creating a debt. When the victims arrive at their final destination they find that the debt increases day by day because they have to pay for room and board and other expenses as determined by the trafficker.
For exploitation to be more effective the trafficker constantly maintains control over the victim. Fear is used to submit the person; usually by reminding the victim of his/her debt and through violence, torture, rape and intimidation. Threatening relatives and friends is common practice to force the victims to do what the trafficker asks.
The traffickers also take the person’s identification documents away from them and say they will be deported and taken into prison if they go to the Police.
Three characteristics of trafficking in persons:

  • Movement - It means that the person leaves or is taken away from his/her environment (city, department, country) to a different place. No matter whether the victim is taken abroad or from one city to another. What counts is that the person has been uprooted from his/her community of origin.
  • Limitation or deprivation of freedom - The person is not free to do what he/she wants and his/her movements are limited. Although the person is not chained he/she cannot leave because he/she is subject to various measures of pressure or violence. Often times people are locked up or mistreated; sometimes the victims or their families are threatened (no matter where they are); and there may be a debt that the victim has to pay to the individual that is exploiting him/her.
  • Exploitation – People are exploited to perform many kinds of activities in all labour environments and trades. Exploitation not only refers to sexual activities, but also to domestic work, mendicancy, servile marriage, pornography, and boys and girls engaged in illegal armed groups, among others.

Is sexual exploitation for prostitution the only form of trafficking in persons?

No. There are many kinds of human trafficking: besides trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation purposes (usually for prostitution) there is also exploitation in domestic labour, in factories, in mendicancy, in servile marriages and among children engaged in the armed conflict, among many other kinds.

Who are the traffickers?

Many kinds of people are involved in human trafficking playing various roles in the process. A trafficker may be the individual who recruits, the person who organizes the journey, the one who receives the victim in his/her final destination and the person that threatens, beats and forces another person to work. This group of people are related by the fact that they are aware that the victim will be exploited and used as an object in their final destination. Some of these people own travel or work agencies. They can be members of the family or friends. There is no such thing as a profile of a trafficker because many kinds of people may be seeking to obtain a profit at the expense of someone else’s exploitation and pain.

How serious is the problem?

A U.S. Department of State report dated June 2005 indicates that 600,000 to 800,000 persons are victims of human trafficking across international borders each year. Of the total, 80% are women and girls and 50% are minors.
According to the Administrative Department of Security (DAS) each day 2 to 10 people leave Colombia to become future victims of trafficking in persons.
This does not include victims who are transported within the country, without crossing the boarders, and are subjected to various forms of exploitation.

How can a person avoid becoming a victim of trafficking in persons?

It is important to be vigilant and informed. Every individual has the right to migrate, but it is necessary to do so in a responsible manner. It is important to have in depth information about: the kind of job or education being offered; the paperwork required; the address of your consulate, the culture and the language spoken in the country of destination; and the migratory requirements.
It is important to be sure about and prepared for what you are doing. Being careful is not enough. You need to be informed in order to avoid falling into the net of trafficking in persons.

How many people are victims of trafficking in persons each year?

The UN estimates that up to one million people are trafficked throughout the world each year. While anyone can be a victim, women and children are reportedly the primary victims.Identifying victims of trafficking can be difficult. The victims may appear to be illegal migrants when intercepted at the border. Those involved in prostitution may appear to be willing participants. Victims may be too terrified to contact the police. Victims may not be able to ask for help because many may not speak english, german, french or italian.

Source: OIM - Colombia