On July 27, the U.S. State Department released its 2015 report on human trafficking. Three countries in the Western Hemisphere—Cuba, Panama, and Uruguay—received upgrades to their statuses (referred to as tiers), while Belize, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua were all downgraded.
Organized crime and extractive industries also are linked to increased human trafficking in the hemisphere. “The more the origin countries are affected by organized crime, the more outward trafficking there is from these countries towards North and Central America and the Caribbean,” says the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in its 2014 global report on human trafficking. The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, observed a link between human trafficking and mining, drilling, and quarrying activities, which typically take place in remote areas with limited rule of law and so are more vulnerable to crime. “Bolivian and Peruvian girls are subjected to sex trafficking in mining areas in Peru, and women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking near gold mines in Suriname and Guyana,” it says in the above report.
In South America, 94 percent of detected victims are trafficked within the continent and/or their own country, while in the North American continent, 42 percent come from outside that region.