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domenica 16 giugno 2013
Human Trafficking An Inhumane Trade
Tenancingo, Tlaxcala, Mexico - In a Mexican village some 1,800 miles from San Diego, girls and young women are coerced, threatened and forced into a life of prostitution. It is where pimps use the town’s annual Carnival to show off their chicas, luxury vehicles and wealth that builds mansions with distinctive architecture to impress and then lock away victims.
Tenancingo is the beginning of a pipeline in an illicit, international trafficking trade where San Diego is a key nexus. This village and others in the state of Tlaxcala generate as much as 80 percent of all Mexican sex traffickers.
The perpetrators include multigenerational families, town officials, neighborhood gossips and lookouts.
Their business scheme is emblematic of systems from Asia to South America, from Eastern Europe to the United States, that profit from the slave labor of men and women. The victims toil in fields, build homes, do housework, beg on streets and work in brothels for little or no compensation.
The spotlight on their plight has grown during the past decade. The United States, Mexico and other countries have passed new laws, advocacy groups have formed to help victims and law-enforcement officials are trying to pursue more of these cases. Successful prosecutions have occurred in San Diego, New York City, Miami and Atlanta.
“As the fight against human trafficking becomes more normalized, I think the lay understanding of it stops being ‘over there’ and people understand how it happens in their own backyard,” said U.S. State Department ambassador Luis CdeBaca, who oversees the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Each year, the agency releases its Trafficking in Persons Report, which grades nations on their anti-trafficking efforts.
Human trafficking is a lucrative affair, ranking as one of the top three most profitable criminal enterprises (behind the arms trade and drug trafficking), according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, Interpol and the U.S. State Department.
It is estimated to be a $32 billion-a-year business that ensnares 21 million to 27 million victims worldwide, said the International Labour Organization and Kevin Bales, cofounder of Free the Slaves and author of “Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.”