Venezuela for several years is the only country in the region that does not report figures on human trafficking and organized crime to the United Nations. The last time that the Ministry of Interior Relations, Justice and Peace reported on this crime was on July 31, when Minister Remigio Ceballos Ichaso reported that 11 gangs dedicated to trafficking had been dismantled.
On January 24, the seventh world report on human trafficking, prepared by the United Nations Office on Drugs (Unodc), which demonstrates a change in the pattern of how cases are detected. In the last decade, 41% of the complaints were made by the victims themselves, who managed to free themselves and make a report to the authorities.
This percentage is especially alarming, says the UN, if one takes into account that “many of them do not identify themselves as victims or are too afraid to try to escape.”
The cases detected increase to 51% if the complaints made by relatives of the victims or people close to them are taken into account. The report highlights that, in contrast, there are fewer cases of human trafficking detected by security forces (26%), the community or strangers (11%), or by institutions and civil society (9%).
The decline in the identification of victims is another of the main concerns, along with the drop in the number of convictions and investigations for this crime.
According to UN data, in 2020 the identification of new victims of trafficking worldwide decreased by 11%, despite the fact that the covid-19 pandemic and other crises are increasing their vulnerability. In South America, this drop reached 32% due to a lower institutional capacity to detect victims and some forms of trafficking that move to more hidden places and with less probability of being detected.
Venezuela for several years is the only country in the region that does not report figures on human trafficking to the United Nations. The last time the Ministry of Interior Relations, Justice and Peace reported on this crime was on July 31, when Minister Remigio Ceballos Ichaso reported that 11 gangs dedicated to trafficking had been dismantled. In August three other gangs were dismantled located in the states of Monagas, Anzoátegui and Táchira.
In it report 2021 of the United States Department of State on this crime, where Venezuela is ratified within its black list, 696 Venezuelans were counted in 24 countries as victims of human trafficking. Although the majority are women, it is mentioned that “traffickers increasingly exploit Venezuelan men for forced labor in other countries, including Aruba and Curaçao.”
The use of maritime routes for Venezuelan migration increased as of 2018, which was taken advantage of by groups dedicated to human trafficking and sexual exploitation, as revealed by «Disappear at sea: a search without a compass»a research developed by SuchWhich in alliance with Connectas.
Sentences for trafficking drop
The number of convictions for trafficking offenses also decreased by 27% globally between 2019 and 2020, accelerating a trend seen since 2017. The report also found that fewer cases of trafficking for exploitation were detected during the pandemic. sexual, due to the closure of public spaces.
In certain regions, the declines in convictions have been steeper, such as South Asia (56%) and South America (46%). In the region, the main forms of trafficking were sexual exploitation, especially against women, and forced labor for men.
The UN considers that, despite having reduced the opportunities for traffickers to act, the pandemic also weakened the ability of law enforcement to detect victims.
“We cannot allow crises to exacerbate exploitation,” said Ghada Waly, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs.
“The UN and the donor community need to support national authorities, especially in developing countries, to respond to threats of trafficking, and to identify and protect victims, especially in states of emergency,” he added.
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