Globalization- an avalanche of social dislocation- as Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann defines it, has created new social, cultural and economic arrangements. It has created several changes in global and regional socio-economic and political systems[i]. Specifically, in the context of Latin America, trade liberalization, privatizations and thereduction of government’s role in the economics have benefited a few but excluded the vast majority of population, worsening their living standards, exacerbating income disparities, marginality and poverty, thus pushing people to move to larger cities and/or industrialized countries to survive. Individuals, travel up north to Mexico with the purpose of crossing the border to the United States,seeking better opportunities to help support their families[ii]. Traditionally men, family breadwinners, would emigrate leaving their families and communities behind, creating after some years new family ties in the country of destiny. Women, used to stay in the home country and play not only the role of mothers and homemakers, but also being responsible for bringing income to the household.[iii] Womenwho stay, face the deepest level of poverty; they become vulnerable to the world restructuring and to the social, economic and labor backlash. This has led to the “feminization of poverty”[iv] which together with discrimination and violence compound the need of desperately look for new economic opportunities to sustain their families, leading thus to the feminization of migration. Women decide tomigrate[v] putting themselves at risk of enduring all sorts of abuses and confront perils during their immigration trajectory, including being trafficked by criminal networks.[vi] Women and children are usually recruited through deception, misadventure, abduction, gang related peer influence, sold into service by relatives and marriage fraud[vii]. Traffickers usually target poor communities andtake advantage of economic, social or political instability.[viii]
Globalization has thus been an ally to trafficking, new criminal networks are constantly establishing. In addition the pervading demand of commercial sexual services, has as consequence, women and children voluntarily or involuntarily being exploited as sex slaves.
Trafficking in persons is today one of the three mostprofitable global criminal business together with Drugs and Arm Trafficking[ix]. So called -modern form of slavery-[x] by scholars, government agencies and international organizations, it affects the life, freedom and security of thousands of women and children.
Even though exact figures about trafficking victims are difficult to obtain given the furtive nature of the activity, the United StatesDepartment of State Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) 2006[xi], shows that of approximately 600 thousand to 800 thousand people trafficked across international borders every year, 80 percent are women and children and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. According to this report, the majority of victims were trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation (this figure does not show theamount of women and children trafficked in a domestic level).[xii]
The report Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean (TIPLAC) reveals similar information, stating that the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that about 2.4 million people[xiii] have been trafficked by private agents into situations of forced labor globally, the vast majority being women and girlstrafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. [xiv]
The TIPLAC denotes that trafficking, as a crime affecting in a global scale, is a growing industry in Latin America.[xv]
The causes of trafficking in the Latin-American region, similar to Africa and Asia, are extreme poverty and deep lack of opportunities specially for women. There is a narrow link between inequality and lack of resources for...