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As Drug Use Rises in Latin America, Sex Exploitation Increases

As Drug Use Rises in Latin America, Sex Exploitation Increases

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South America Sex Trafficking is Following Drug Use Escalation

South America Sex Trafficking is Following Drug Use Escalation

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Published by: Jerry E. Brewer, Sr. on Jan 29, 2013
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09/17/2013

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Column 012813 Brewer
 
Monday, January 28, 2013
 
s Drug Use Rises in Latin America, SexExploitation Increases
 
By Jerry Brewer
 
Is there a sinister correlation between increased drugtrafficking and the illicit sex industry in South America? Criminal opportunities and major marketsfor huge profits are all that is sufficiently needed fororganized crime to place a stranglehold on apopulace.Organized crime proliferates when a rapid growth forillegal goods and services abounds. This demandquickly breeds an underground economy or black market that can incapacitate and hinder deterrencecapacities.The incredible demand for drugs in the US aloneshowcases the multi-billions of dollars a year that aresimply handed away to transnational criminals togrow and prosper throughout the hemisphere. Of course drug trafficking is but one facet of hedonisticdemand, and one that could actually be sacrificed toreap vast revenues to replace it. However, don't look for many of these highly addictive deliriants to simply disappear.
 
Societal demand for products and services thatgenerate or enhance the "pleasure of the individual"is rapidly growing in South America -- this at greatmisery and despair to those nations in the path. Andthere are the victims in Mexico, with estimates of 70,000 people killed, while the missing cannot becounted; plus many people are falling prey toorganized crime and street gangs in the northerncone countries of Central American.
 
 
Is progress being made to sufficiently address thesecritical issues? What will be the possible futuredevelopments, and the likely longer-term impact thismay have on society as a whole in this hemisphere?
 
 Argentina is now the second largest domestic market  for cocaine in Latin America, after Brazil. It has become both a major market and transit point in the world drug trade.Furthermore, Argentina is currently "a source,transit, and destination country for men, women, andchildren subjected to forced labor and sextrafficking," according to the U.S. State Department.There appears to be significant numbers of sextrafficking victims from rural areas or northernprovinces, and along the Chilean border, who are"forced into prostitution in urban centers." Many aresent to wealthier provinces in central and southern Argentina.
 
 What is equally disturbing is that there are a largenumber of foreign women and children, primarily from Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru, subjected to sextrafficking in Argentina. Argentina remains a transit point for foreign womenand girls trafficked into commercial sexualexploitation in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, WesternEurope, and other countries.In Mexico, congresswoman Rosi Orozco claims thatmore than 800,000 adults and 20,000 children a year are trafficked for sexual exploitation. The USState Department estimated that at least 100,000Latin Americans are trafficked internationally each year. It has identified Spain, Italy, Portugal, theUnited States, and Japan as major destinationcountries for Latin American trafficking victims.Panama has been a destination for women fromColombia and Central America trafficked "to work inthe sex industry." Although human/sex trafficking and drug smugglingare increasing at an alarming rate in the Americas,there is no concrete evidence of specific organizedMexican drug gang involvement correlating with sex
 
trafficking specifically in South America. However,according to the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition(BSCC), criminal gangs from Mexico, Central America, Russia, Japan, Ukraine, and several othercountries have been caught attempting to traffic victims across the U.S.-Mexico border.
 
There was also a claim by Mexican journalist LydiaCacho, who said that the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetashad expanded their operations in Argentina and weremoving into sex trafficking. "I have clear evidence of the presence of drug cartels involved in traffickingthat are already operating in Argentina. Theseorganized criminals have begun to settle and are buying human beings." Reports of the presence of  both drug gangs in Argentina in recent years arerarely disputed.There is no doubt that human trafficking is one of the world's most lucrative illicit trades - it is estimatedthat organized crime groups earn "tens of billions" of dollars annually. Given the highly profitable nature of the human trafficking trade, and its size in Argentina,it is a reasonable assumption that Mexican criminalgroups will try to establish control of the sex tradethere.Human trafficking is very appealing compared todrug sales that systematically require more drugs andhigh risk, compared with the ownership and use of sex laborers over and over again, as long as they arealive and capable. If not, it appears they areabundantly replaced.In a fairly regional effort, the Department of Organized Crime at the Ministry of the Interior inChile is working closely with Argentina and otherneighbors in an endeavor to eradicate organizedcrime, especially targeting mobsters and gangsinvolved in drug production and trafficking, humantrafficking and so-called white slavery, and illicitarms trafficking. Officials are continuing efforts toform alliances and joint programs, with actions thatcan be of great value to their respective homelands.
 
 And Chile's efforts to curb human trafficking

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