• The MS13's Prostitution Rings in the United States

    Rances Ulises Amaya, alias 'Murder' or 'Blue'

    Social workers and police officers in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia (DC) have detected at least nine child prostitution rings since 2009. Most of these networks -- some of which have already been dismantled -- are run by the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS13.

  • Brazil World Cup Stadium Builders Accused of Human Trafficking

    One of Brazil's largest construction companies has been accused of human trafficking and keeping workers in slave-like conditions, underscoring the pervasiveness of labor abuses among Brazilian companies. 

  • Sweatshop Raid Raises Concerns Over Peru to Brazil Human Trafficking

    Authorities in Brazil have rescued 17 Peruvians from slave-like conditions in a textile workshop in São Paulo, leading officials to warn Peru may become the country's next major source of forced labor.

  • Brazil Frees Nearly 3,000 Slaves

    Agricultural workers in Brazil

    Brazilian authorities rescued almost 3,000 people from conditions of slavery in 2012, as the country continues to strengthen its efforts to tackle the entrenched practice.

  • Brazil Announces New Anti-Human Trafficking Measures

    Brazil has announced a three-year plan to combat human trafficking, including tougher border controls and a revision of the penal code, in a country where forced labor is believed to affect tens of thousands of people.

  • 'The Mafia's Shadow' Highlights the Human Rights Consequences of Organized Crime

    In April of this year, InSight Crime, with financing from the non-governmental organization Internews, met with journalists from four online news media organizations. The four represented the cream of the crop in terms of their online presence and focus, the presentation of their materials, and, of course, the quality of their investigations. And the meeting represented what we hope will be the beginning of a regional partnership with them covering the most pressing issue in the Americas: organized crime.

  • Of Slaves and Serfs: Guatemala's 'Occupied' Bodies

    Organized crime networks dedicated to human trafficking have had a great deal of time to perfect their system and ally themselves with new players in Guatemala, including drug traffickers. Small criminal structures exploit indigenous women, trafficking them from rural areas to the capital. Dozens, maybe even hundreds, of women are trafficked from other countries to Guatemala by larger criminal organizations. Sexual exploitation -- in a country with high crime rates, a woeful human rights record and a judicial system that is only just starting to recognize it as a crime -- is flourishing.

  • How Mexico's Zetas Enslave Engineers

    The date was January 25, 2009, and Jose Antonio Robledo Fernandez was talking to his girlfriend on the phone as he parked his car in front of a mechanic shop in Monclava, Coahuila.

    Jose Antonio was an engineer. He was born in Mexico City, but he had been living for months in this northern city, where he was working for a construction company known as ICA Flour Daniel.

  • Men who Sold Women: Human Trafficking Networks in Central America

    A prosecutor asks. Grecia responds.

    "Where did they do it to you?"

    "On my right calf. They took us to a place where we did the tattoo. They made  us eat something and inhale something that put us to sleep. When I woke up and had the tattoo. It's a butterfly on a branch, which forms the 'Z' for Zeta. That was the marking; it meant that I was theirs, that I was merchandise."

  • Slaves of Organized Crime in Latin America

    In Latin America, the word slavery tends to conjure images of indigenous people subjected to forced labor at the end of a whip, and auctions of African men and women just off the slave ships. Today the images are different: women locked in brothels, deceived, tied up and forced to serve as sex slaves; migrants kidnapped, forced under threat to take up weapons and work as hitmen, 12, 13 and 14-year-old children carrying an automatic rifle in the name of some organization or another.