Over 5 mn Latin American women sex trade victims

March 26th, 2009 - 9:51 am ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, March 26 (EFE) More than five million women have become victims of people trafficking networks in Latin America and 10 million more are at risk of falling prey, activist Teresa Ulloa has said.
The director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), also said that the traders “are more and more linked with organised crime”, and added that poverty had made the phenomenon “skyrocket in recent years”.

“It’s a very serious problem,” said Ulloa Monday after inaugurating CATW-LAC’s first formal conference here.

Part of the problem of the current spike in this kind of crime is due to the fact that “organised crime throughout Latin America has diversified its illicit activities”, moving into “very lucrative” activities such as sex trafficking, Ulloa said.

“A dose of drug is sold once and there’s no more profit. They can sell a woman or a girl up to 40 or 50 times per day, making $40 or $60 each time and they can be exploiting her for five years,” she added.

She said she feared that the number of women and minors involved in the trade will grow in the coming months “because of the problem of the recession and poverty”, both of which are bound to the economic crisis.

The meeting in Mexico City brought together non-governmental organisations from 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries who want to create forums to improve information about these cases and to make proposals for better public policies.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, earnings from sex trafficking amount to about $16 billion per year in Latin America.

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