Source vanguardia.com.mx / The Dawn / December 19, 2015. During 12 years, the Red Alert System of the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women and Girls in Latin America and the Caribbean (CATWLAC, for its acronym in English), recorded 228 cases of women who were allegedly disappeared and victims of human trafficking and slavery.
Of these, only 30 percent were found alive and 11 were killed by organized crime.
The CATWLAC presented this week in Mexico City, its Annual Report of Statistical and Geo-referenced Data of cases registered by the Red Alert System, which consisted of 228 reports of missing people who might have been victims of trafficking and other forms of modern slavery, which occurred from 2002 to December 31, 2014.
They noted that, in more than half of the reports of the Red Alert System there was suspicion of the involvement of organized crime, and that in only 30 percent of all cases the victims were rescued alive.
Of the women, the document says that 132 have still not been found; 15 were victims of femicide and of these, 11 were killed by organized crime.
The System of Statistics Data and Georeferenced of Cases of Red Alert System (SEGSAR) recorded only cases reported to the Red Alert System, which is an initiative of CATWLAC that emerged in 2006 in the context of the proliferation of organized crime, to assist the authorities to locate and rescue people that were reported missing, lost, or kidnapped, who could be victims of contemporary forms of slavery, including the crime of trafficking.
CATWLAC’s staff is informed of the cases through different channels: the victims’ families, other civil organizations, reports by activists and even officials from the government request the system’s support, which communicates information on a website.
Teresa Ulloa Ziáurriz, CATWLAC’s regional director, said that only in 2014, 110 new cases were recorded in the Red Alert System and the rest are reports of previous years —prior to the installation System— but which had not been solved or concluded legally.
Young and poor
The SEGSAR showed that most victims of disappearance were aged between 12 and 18, single, and of poor socioeconomic condition, but more than half completed high school and elementary school.
As documented by CATWLAC in these 12 years of records, the main mechanism used for the recruitment of victims has been force. In the following places come deception, seduction, “minor abduction” or buying and selling; and in most cases there was no preexisting link with of the victim the recruiter, but in some, the aggressors were romantic partners or former partners, an acquaintance, bosses or coworkers, or family members.
The report notes that women as well as men were victims of more than one form of modern slavery, mainly trafficking, sexual exploitation and the use of children for criminal activities; however, cases of labor exploitation, servitude, forced begging were also recorded, among others.
Ziárruiz reported that, at both the local and the federal level, the degree of impunity when it comes to human trafficking and other modern forms of slavery is very high, because there are at least 166 cases registered by the Red Alert system that are of local jurisdiction and were reported by the victims, but only in three of them criminal action was taken. At federal level, of the 86 cases reported, only three resulted in sentences.
Ziárruiz, who is a lawyer with over 20 years of trajectory, warned that civilians and particularly women defenders agencies have made substantial progress and achieved the approval of the General Law to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Crimes on People Trafficking and for the Protection and Assistance to Victims of these crimes.
However, she denounced, authorities are not properly interpreting some articles, or are just violating this rule, for example, when it comes to respecting and reserving the identity and personal details of the victims or to take measures to ensure their protection and assistance.
As part of this report, the CATWLAC also introduced today the second part of its information campaign “Say No to Sexual Tourism” in connection with the Olympic Games to be held in 2016 in Brazil, which is now the second country in the world for sex tourism.