More than 1,300 labor and sex trafficking victims rescued in Argentina since 2008 are foreign nationals, according to statistics released by the government.
Between April 2008, when a law against human trafficking was passed, and August 2011, the Justice Ministry’s Office of Rescue and Support for Victims of Human Trafficking has rescued 2,412 individuals from forced labor, including prostitution.
More than half of these were foreigners, and 360 were minors.
Argentina’s human trafficking networks increasingly target young girls and, according to Argentine NGO La Casa del Encuentro, are operated by transnational criminal organizations.
According to the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report, Argentina is considered to be a source, transit and destination country for victims forced into sexual and labor slavery. The 2010 report states that “a significant number of foreign women and children are forced into prostitution” in urban and wealthy areas of the country.
Some of these victims are smuggled overseas to work in Western Europe via the same trafficking networks and routes used by organized crime groups to smuggle cocaine.