Main menu

Weekly Chart: Human Trafficking in the Americas

July 29, 2015

Women make up 10-15% of all convicted criminals but 40% of human trafficking convictions in SouthAm.
A decade ago, 23 countries in the Americas had no anti-human-trafficking laws. In 2015? 30 do.
What industries tend to be linked to human trafficking in the Americas? Organized crime and mining.

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.

In light of World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, we take a closer look at where the region stands. For resources, please visit the UN’s page on the day