Argentina: Security Forces Rescue Human Trafficking Victims
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo September 16, 2020
The Argentine National Gendarmerie dismantled a human trafficking network and rescued seven women age 18 to 25 who were being sexually exploited in Salta province.
The operation took place in mid-July, when the force raided residences that offered sexual services. Gendarmerie agents detained two women (the gang leader and the recruiter) and a man believed to be in a relationship with one of the detainees.
The organization recruited young women through ads on a Facebook page, taking advantage of their vulnerable situation.
Authorities used an undercover police officer tasked with showing interest in the services of a criminal group to identify its members, Radio Nacional reported.
In another operation on July 13, Gendarmerie agents rescued a male victim of forced labor in Entre Ríos province. “The man was working as the caretaker of a rural property in extremely precarious conditions,” the Gendarmerie reported. “He lived in a room with a plastic tarp roof, with no floor and no bathroom.”
On July 7, authorities detained a Paraguayan couple that managed a house with seven bedrooms in Buenos Aires province. A sign on the door read “Rooms for rent.” The rooms were actually used to provide sexual services.
“Two women aged 29 and 24 [Venezuelan and Paraguayan nationals] were living in one of the rooms, together with a minor who lived in a different location and used the house to meet with customers,” the Gendarmerie reported. Authorities also arrested a third Paraguayan citizen, accused of collaborating in the activities.
In 2019, the Prosecutor’s Office for Human Trafficking and Exploitation (PROTEX, in Spanish) received 1,740 human trafficking reports through a toll-free hotline. Of these, 844 reports were for sexual exploitation, 248 for forced labor, and 218 for missing people. “There are 430 other cases that involve different types of exploitation/misleading recruitment,” PROTEX said in a statement.