combating sexual exploitation in tourism and developing a responsible and sustainable tourism industry.
Representative of IOM, North America and the Caribbean
The speaker developed an overview of migration flows in the Caribbean, and the specific case of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), in terms of human trafficking. Traffickers and smugglers use the region as a stepping-stone or as a point of origin to the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and other European destinations. According to some estimates, over 100,000 trafficking victims are thought to come from Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a phenomenon that takes place within national borders. Although there are very few studies available on the matter, it is very likely that active trafficking in persons is happening within various countries of the region.
Annually, an estimated 30,000 Haitians cross the porous 330 km long land border between both countries. Even though it is difficult to quantify, more than 2,000 children cross the border annually. These movements take place with parental consent. However, there is labor exploitation and perhaps later coercion, thus there is trafficking in children. Male minors are sent to work in farms, plantations and on the streets (selling goods, organized begging). Female children work as domestic workers or in small shops. Trafficking of Dominican women continues to be a significant problem. In the last five years, traditional destinations in Europe and the Dutch Antilles gave ground to others like Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela and Haiti. Prior to its crisis, Argentina has emerged as a main destination receiving an estimated 5,000 Dominican women. Sources in the Dominican Republic state that until the recent upsurge of trafficking from Eastern Europe and the Balkans, their country had the fourth highest number in the world of women working overseas in the sex trade after Thailand, Brazil and the Philippines. The number of Dominican sex workers currently abroad is estimated to be more than 50,000 women.
An important role is played by what has developed into "sex tourism" in the Dominican Republic. The North and East Coast beaches attract thousands of tourists annually, mainly from European countries; there are some resorts that specialize in single males. The existence of local and international trafficking networks and the easy obtention of forged documentation exacerbate the situation.
Representatives of the Ministry of Justice and NGO from Brazil
Claudia Cunha Diaz and Fatima Leal presented the issue of trafficking from the Brazilian perspective, both governmental and NGO. Both presenters linked trafficking to sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and forced labor. They mentioned the efforts initiated by the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the police, judiciary and health agencies in coordinating activities against trafficking in persons. They emphasized the need of an inter-ministerial commission, mutual cooperation with each of Brazil’s ten neighbor countries and the reinforcement of the "consejos tutelares," or community councils to assist in anti-trafficking strategies. They are planning three seminars on legal reform to be presented to law enforcement and the media.