Latin America / Trafficking in Human Beings

What is human trafficking and when does it occur?

19 February 2020

Human trafficking is a phenomenon that basically consists of tearing someone away from his (or her) home environment, from the place where they belong, taking them away from their roots (personal, family, cultural, language, religious, etc.) using violent, coercive, deceptive or abusive methods, taking them to another place, where the vulnerability caused by the circumstances described is taken advantage of in order to exploit him (or her) for different purposes.

The three fundamental pillars in the fight against human trafficking are as follows:

  • prevention
  • criminal prosecution
  • victim protection

When human trafficking is a crime

The components of the crime of human trafficking consist of three basic elements, which must occur at the same time to constitute a criminal offence:

  • The action (in any of its modalities: the recruitment, transport, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people)
  • The means used to achieve the intended result (by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to a person who has control over the victim)
  • The purpose that the execution of the criminal action pursues, which must be a motivating element of the rest of the elements (it is always the exploitation of the victim with any of its purposes).

It should be noted that the elements referred to (action, means and purpose) must all apply. Their absence makes the action atypical in regard to human trafficking.

Stages of the human trafficking process:

The stages may overlap or follow a different order:

  • In the first stage the victims are captured.
  • In the second they are transported.
  • Finally, they are exploited.

Most common purposes and goals of human trafficking:

Sexual Exploitation:

  • The most common of the forms of HT.
  • Both types (street – indoors)
  • Capture of the victim through their closest circle, or through advertisements on the Internet and social media
  • In some Criminal Organisations, women play an active role in exploiting the victims

Labour Exploitation – Legal Sector:

  • Agricultural sector
  • Construction
  • Food industry
  • Domestic service

Labour Exploitation – Illegal Sector – Illegal Purposes:

  • Pickpockets
  • Organised begging
  • Robberies
  • Marriages of convenience
  • Cannabis growers
  • Child trafficking for undercover adoptions

Organ Trafficking:

  • Victims can belong to any age range
  • The organs normally trafficked: kidneys and liver
  • Obtaining huge profits
  • Hidden (social and economic power of the recipients)

Child Trafficking:

  • From very impoverished families
  • Parents and family members involved in the trafficking.
  • Forced to participate in committing various crimes
  • Employed to justify applications for and receipt of social and tax benefits

Víctor Pedro Pérez Nicolás, Lieutenant in the Civil Guard.

Felix Durán Garrido, Lieutenant in the Civil Guard.

The opinions and comments expressed in this blog are solely the responsibility of the author.

Las opiniones y comentarios vertidos en este blog son sólo responsabilidad de su autor.