Trafficking in persons is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Annually, about 600,000 to 800,000 people: mostly women and children are trafficked across national borders which, does not count millions trafficked within their own countries. No review of research on human trafficking worldwide would be complete without an examination of the situation in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In the past few years, the Latin American and Caribbean regions have witnessed increased activities by the US Government, international organizations, and civil society alerting governments and migrants on the continually evolving nature of human trafficking, both domestically and across international boundaries. Countries have been divided into three tiers: Tier one includes nations that have a significant number of trafficked persons and have undertaken efforts to fight trafficking in all three areas with a large measure of success.
The second tier includes countries that have made some efforts to bring themselves into compliance with some of the standards laid out by Congress. Tier three countries neither satisfy the minimum requirements nor demonstrate the desire to do so. Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat. It deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, it is a global health risk, and it fuels the growth of organized crime. Human trafficking has a devastating impact on individual victims, who often suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, threats against self and family, passport theft, and even death.
But the impact of human trafficking goes beyond individual victims; it undermines the health, safety and security of all nations it touches. Human trafficking Effective policy responses to the scourge of human trafficking require reliable data based on solid empirical research. The clandestine nature of this criminal activity makes it only possible to rely on estimates, primarily from the nongovernmental organization (NGO) community. As in most parts of the world, before the year 2000 the problem had been overlooked and understudied in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In an effort to ameliorate this problem and provide governments information that more fully addressed the scope and nature of the problem, the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) and the Inter- American Children’s Institute (IACI), both of the Organization of American States (OAS), collaborated with the International Human Rights Law Institute (IHRLI) of DePaul University to study human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean (1, 2, 3). Human trafficking in Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic is located on the eastern two thirds of the island of Hispaniola and its largest city is the capital Santo Domingo.
Though the country has long been a primary exporter of sugar, coffee, and tobacco, in recent years the service sector has overtaken agriculture as the economy’s largest employer, due to growth in tourism and free trade zones. The country suffers from marked income inequality; the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GNP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of national income. The Dominican Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.
IOM estimates that 50,000 Dominican women work in prostitution around the world and that an estimated one-third of these women are trafficking victims. Other international organizations Human trafficking estimate that between 30,000 and 50,000 Dominicans are victims of trafficking. Dominican women are often recruited through acquaintances or family networks, and by means of false promises and misleading employment advertisements. Many are unaware of the true nature of the work, the coercive demands that later will be made of them, or the amount of money they will receive.
The primary destinations include Argentina, Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Netherlands Antilles, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Panama, Suriname, and Switzerland. There is also significant internal trafficking of women and children from rural areas to cities and tourist districts. Haitians are trafficked to the Dominican Republic to work in the sugarcane industry in shantytowns, referred to as “bateys. ” The conditions in the bateys are substandard; in some bateys, armed guards reportedly kept workers’ clothes and documents (2, 5)