Cablegate: Argentina Submission for the Seventh Annual


DE RUEHBU #0519/01 0752227
O 162227Z MAR 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 2006 STATE 202745

1. (SBU) Summary: Argentina is a country of origin,
transit and destination for internationally trafficked men,
women and children. Trafficking in persons (TIP) in
Argentina primarily involves Argentines trafficked internally
for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation, mostly
from the northern provinces to the central provinces and
Buenos Aires, and from Buenos Aires to several southern
provinces. Trafficking of persons for commercial sexual
exploitation also occurs across the country's borders,
principally women and minors from Paraguay, Brazil, and to a
lesser extent the Dominican Republic. International
trafficking into Argentina of Bolivians and Chinese for
forced labor was also reported. Argentina is also a transit
country for international trafficking of women to the
Southern Cone region and Europe, particularly Spain, Chile,
and Brazil. Lack of federal anti-TIP legislation hampers and
complicates investigations and prosecutions of traffickers,
as does the existence of official corruption at local levels.
Comprehensive and reliable data on the magnitude of TIP in
Argentina as well as the number of possible victims, arrests,
and prosecutions do not exist.

2. (SBU) The U.S. State Department has provided funding to
the International Office for Migration (IOM) for TIP training
and victims assistance programs and the Secretary of State
recognized an Argentine woman active in anti-TIP efforts with
an International Woman of Courage Award. The GOA, with IOM's
assistance, increased TIP training for judges, prosecutors,
security officials and other government officials. Although
there has not been significant improvement in the GOA's
efforts to combat TIP, public, media and GOA interest in
addressing the issue has increased significantly, with two
draft anti-TIP bills pending in the Argentine Congress and a
new anti-TIP publicity campaign launched in March. Passage
of anti-TIP legislation defining TIP a federal crime would be
the first step towards improving the GOA's ability to
investigate and prosecute individuals involved in human
trafficking. Despite limited resources, the GOA, with
significant help from IOM, continues to provide assistance to
trafficking victims through the Attorney General's Office of
Victims Assistance (OFAVI). Government officials and NGOs
who are working to combat TIP are well-meaning individuals;
but their efforts go largely uncoordinated. Post recommends
that Argentina maintain its Tier II watchlist designation.
End Summary.

3. (SBU) Overview:

-- A. Is the country a country of origin, transit, or
destination for internationally trafficked men, women, or
children? Provide, where possible, numbers or estimates for
each group; how they were trafficked, to where, and for what
purpose. Does the trafficking occur within the country's
borders? Does it occur in territory outside of the
government's control (e.g. in a civil war situation)? Are
any estimates or reliable numbers available as to the extent
or magnitude of the problem? What is (are) the source(s) of
available information on trafficking in persons or what plans
are in place (if any) to undertake documentation of
trafficking? How reliable are the numbers and these sources?
Are certain groups of persons more at risk of being
trafficked (e.g. women and children, boys versus girls,
certain ethnic groups, refugees, etc.)?

Response: Based on post interviews with government
officials, NGOs, the IOM, and the Catholic Church, as well as
written responses to the Department's TIP questionnaire from
NGOs and think tanks, Argentina is a country of origin,
transit and destination for internally and internationally
trafficked men, women and children. Argentina's main problem
is internal trafficking for the purposes of sexual commercial
exploitation, mostly from the northern provinces to the
central provinces and Buenos Aires, and from Buenos Aires to
several southern provinces. Argentina is also a destination
country for women and young girls trafficked into Argentina
for the sex trade primarily from Paraguay, although victims
from the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Brazil have also
been identified. Argentina is also a country of origin and
transit for internationally trafficked women and girls whose
final destination is the sex trade in Spain, Chile and
Brazil. According to the MFA, the Spanish Civil Guard
reported that it assisted 182 Argentine female trafficking
victims in 2005. In addition, the IOM reports that 27 of the
99 victims of sexual exploitation reported in Chile from
1998-2006 were Argentine.

Argentina is a destination country for men, women and
children trafficked for the purposes of labor exploitation.
According to a 2006 report from the Anti-Slavery
International, although Bolivians are primarily affected,
Paraguayans, Argentines and Peruvians are also reported to be
at risk of this type of exploitation, particularly in
factories producing footwear and farms. The report also
states that there are similar concerns raised about working
conditions for Korean and Chinese migrants in factories and
agricultures. Based on post interviews with the Argentine
immigration officials, there is also antecdotal evidence to
suggest that an increasing number of Chinese are being
trafficked into Argentina's tri-border area to supply labor
for Chinese-owned supermarket chains under exploitative
conditions. However, there has not been any comprehensive
study or official investigation into the matter of which the
Embassy is aware.

The Ombudsman's office estimates that tens of thousands of
people could be working in similar conditions in sweatshops
in and around Buenos Aires.

The Northern provinces of Argentina are also recognized as a
point of origin and transit for internationally trafficked
babies and children who are illegally adopted by families
from Europe and the United States, though the scope of the
problem is very hard to measure. Based on testimonies from
those arrested for this crime cited by Anti-Slavery
International, a child can be sold for USD 1,500-5000, with
the child often going abroad.

The MFA has also identified as a problem the trafficking of
Bosnians and other citizens of Eastern Europe for the
purposes of begging or selling goods on the streets.

Please see section 3B for more information on how victims are

Since Argentina does not have a comprehensive law
criminalizing TIP, reliable estimates for the number of
victims trafficked to, from, and within Argentina are not
available. There are several bills pending in the Argentine
Congress that would, for the first time, define trafficking
in persons as a federal crime. In the absence of such a law,
traffickers are prosecuted under other elements of the
criminal code and, therefore, are not reported by the various
law enforcement services or judicial sector for trafficking
violations per se, making data collection difficult. In
addition, victims are often too afraid or ashamed to seek
legal redress. Partial and incomplete information comes from
provincial judicial data, a number of emergency social
services hotlines, from various provincial social
service-related agencies, NGO's, the media, and from
international agencies.

A network of NGO's "No a la Trata" (No to Trafficking) has
attempted to track the number of trafficking cases in the
country over the past few years, mainly through monitoring

press reports and cataloging reports from its member groups.
Unfortunately, the information is often incomplete and does
not differentiate sufficiently between sexual abuse of
minors, sexual violence and exploitation of minors for
commercial sexual exploitation. Their information, however,
shows reports of likely trafficking in many of Argentina's
provinces, with a concentration in the northern provinces,
and in the province and city of Buenos Aires.

The think tank, the Center for the Implementation of Public
Policies that Foster Equality and Growth (CIPPECC), has also
begun to develop a database that tracks TIP cases.

The groups that have the highest risk of becoming trafficking
victims are women and children with low levels of education
from impoverished families and broken homes, subject to
physical and/or sexual abuse in the home and often abandoned
or essentially left to fend for themselves.

B. Please provide a general overview of the trafficking
situation in the country and any changes since the last TIP
Report (e.g. changes in direction). Also briefly explain
the political will to address trafficking in persons. Other
items to address may include: What kind of conditions are
the victims trafficked into? Which populations are targeted
by the traffickers? Who are the traffickers? What methods
are used to approach victims? (Are they offered lucrative
jobs, sold by their families, approached by friends of
friends, etc.?) What methods are used to move the victims
(e.g., are false documents being used?).

Response: Internal trafficking for the purposes of
commercial sexual exploitation remains Argentina,s biggest
problem, with trafficking cases reported in many parts of the
country. The corruption of security forces and government
officials often allows traffickers to act with impunity.
Since the last TIP report, the GoA has increased efforts to
provide TIP-related training to security forces, community
groups, prosecutors and judges. The Secretary of Human
Rights of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights (La
Secretaria de Derechos Humanos del Ministerio de Justicia y

Derechos Humanos) sponsored a series of training courses
throughout the country, in cooperation with local
organizations. The Attorney General's Office of Victim,s
Assistance (OFAVI) also worked together with the Secretary of
Homeland Security (Secretaria de Seguridad Interior) to offer
training programs to security forces.

The GOA has identified trafficking in persons as a serious
problem and an increasing number of government agencies at
both the national and provincial levels are becoming more
engaged in trying to address the problem. The GoA has
demonstrated the political will to bring its criminal code up
to international standards and has likewise demonstrated its
intentions to prevent and punish trafficking offenses.
OFAVI, the GOA's anti-TIP focal point, introduced a draft
bill to criminalize TIP, which was approved by the Argentine
Senate in August 2005. Since then, five new draft bills have
been introduced to criminalize human trafficking. See
Section 4A for more information about the current status of
anti-TIP legislation in the Argentine Congress.

There has been greater public awareness of the TIP problem in
Argentina and the GOA has made increased progress on
strengthening its assistance and prevention efforts and in
providing TIP-related training to judges, prosecutors, and
law enforcement officials, often in conjunction with IOM. As
noted in last year's report, a Special Prosecutors Office for
crimes against sexual integrity, child prostitution and
trafficking in persons was created in 2005. It is still too
early to evaluate the office's impact.

The conditions into which victims of sexual exploitation are

trafficked vary significantly according to all available
reports. Victims generally receive medical attention within
the brothel or place of exploitation if they have medical
needs. In most cases of sexual exploitation, protection is
used during sexual contact. Consumption of alcohol and drugs
is generally encouraged and sometimes forced upon victims.
Physical coercion is common; in isolated cases, severe acts
of violence are used to control victims.

IOM reports that conditions faced by victims of labor
exploitation are generally very poor. Many of them are
forced to eat and sleep in the same cramped spaces where they
work. Citing a study conducted by the University of Buenos
Aires, IOM notes that an estimated 77 percent of trafficked
laborers do not have appropriate documentation, which limits
their access to social services and allows their exploiters
to control and manipulate them more easily.

According to various NGOs, traffickers target young women
from the northern provinces of Argentina since different
waves of European immigrants settled in the region and
intermarried with the local people resulting in a very
attractive physiognomy that is desirable for traffickers in
women for commercial sexual exploitation and children for
illegal adoptions. Traffickers also target young mothers so
that they can intimidate woman into submission by threatening
to harm their children. For the purposes of forced labor,
traffickers target the poor in rural communities in Argentina
as well as Bolivians and Paraguayans.

IOM, CIPPECC, the media, and others have identified
trafficking networks within Argentina of various sizes. They
have identified in particular, rive large organized crime
networks dedicated to the trafficking of victims for sexual
exploitation have been identified throughout the country.
These trafficking networks sometimes consist of entire
extended families plus their business associates that include
recruiters, pimps, and managers of brothels. Secondary
operators include security forces and public servants who
provide protection to traffickers, employees of bus and taxi
companies who assist traffickers by transporting victims,
employees of cell phone companies that provide traffickers
with secure phone lines, individuals who create false
documents for minors and foreigners, and hotels who
facilitate access to sex tourists. Within the country,
victims of sexual exploitation are frequently moved from one
brothel to the next along predetermined routes, often to
avoid the law, with brothel managers "renting out" victims to
pimps for a period of a few weeks.

According to Red Alto a la Trata y Trafico (the Stop
Trafficking and Smuggling Network), trafficking networks
related to labor exploitation are generally less
sophisticated. In the case of internal trafficking, labor
recruiters visit poor rural communities to recruit Argentine
workers to work on farms, particularly citrus and blueberry
farms. Workers are then subject to exploitative living and
working conditions. Similarly, in the case of international
trafficking, Bolivian nationals frequently travel back to
Bolivia to recruit their countrymen and provide them with
documentation for the trip to Argentina. Border controls are
generally very weak, making it fairly easy to transport
victims, including minors, into Argentina from neighboring
countries. Most trafficking victims of Bolivian origin are
employed in Argentina's agricultural and textile industries
by other Bolivians, Argentines, and Koreans, according to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

IOM explains that traffickers generally use fraud to recruit
victims of sexual exploitation. Some recruiters work
directly for trafficking networks, working &on commission,8
earning between 35 USD and 165 USD per victim. They
typically deceive women and girls from low income families by
promising them work as domestic employees, nannies,
waitresses, or cooks. Traffickers also recruit girls from
lower and middle income families by advertising &auditions8
in local hotels and promising jobs as models or actresses.
Young women, especially minors, often become trafficking
victims through romantic relationships with pimps. Pairs of
male and female recruiters sometimes pose as married couples,
occasionally with children, to win the confidence of girls
and their families.

IOM notes that traffickers have also used more violent
methods to capture their victims, albeit to a lesser extent.
The local press has reported numerous cases of victims being
kidnapped by traffickers have been identified, particularly
in the Northwest region of Argentina. Kidnappings of victims
are generally well-planned. Traffickers rely on local taxi
drivers, traveling salesmen, or neighbors to &target8 women
that meet the requirements of trafficking networks. These
third party actors are paid approximately 17 USD (50
Argentine pesos) per victim that they identify. In some
cases, recru

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