Sunday, May 4, 2008

Bolivia: Traffickers Target Minors

BOLIVIA - Human trafficking does not discriminate between countries, whether rich or poor, large or small. It takes place in every corner of the world. Although it especially affects women and girls, men and boys are also victimized.

Cases of human trafficking have surfaced in Bolivia, demonstrating that this country is not immune from the phenomenon. Studies carried out by different institutions indicate that Bolivia is a country of origin, transit and destination, but also that it is difficult to quantify the problem. "The numbers are not that high and only cover cases that have been reported and cases undergoing trial," says Cristina Albertin, UNODC Representative in Bolivia.

While many women and girls are forced to work as prostitutes, men and boys are usually made to work in mines, factories and fields. These trends are confirmed by Betty Pinto, responsible for the national programme for the human rights of migrants and women of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Since statistics show that more girls and women migrate and disappear than boys and men, Ms. Pinto considers that "human trafficking is a deeply gendered issue." Although both sexes are negatively affected, trafficking mainly affects females "because of how we conceive women's bodies," which are so devalued as to be perceived as objects, mere merchandise...


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