Easy prey for traffickers
BY YAMPIER AGUIAR DURAÑONA —Journalism student—
BRITISH television’s Sky News has revealed that you can buy a new-born baby from Romania for just $650. Global figures from the United Nations indicate that more than 1.2 million children throughout the world are the subject of commercial transactions every year, according to the report.
It is estimated that between one and two million children are, to varying degrees, the victims of multiple forms of trafficking. A large number of them come from Eastern Europe and many are adopted by British couples. Until recently, the United Kingdom lacked legislation making the trafficking of persons a crime, but the current law – that came into force in 2002 – carries harsh sentences, including up to 14 years’ imprisonment.
Studies show that the greatest flow of child trafficking can be found in South, and particularly, South East Asia, from where they are then taken to the United States, countries in the European Union or the Persian Gulf, in order to introduce them into prostitution or unpaid work.
In 2001, Russia’s Ministry of the Interior stated that 500 minors from that country had been trafficked to engage in begging and that some of them had been the victims of sexual abuse.
According to other sources, younger children are trafficked for their economic exploitation in Russia and Ukraine. By not demanding a visa to enter member states of the Community of Independent States makes the illegal transportation of children within the region much easier.
The Republic of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine are identified as the main countries of origin, and Albania is a principle source and a transit country for the transportation of women and children from the Balkans to Western Europe.
With respect to the situation in South and Central America, it is known that trafficking for the purpose of adoption has, to a large extent, been controlled but child exploitation for economic purposes still continues.
"NO ONE CAN OR SHOULD SELL OUR CHILDREN"
Some investigations point to the existence of trafficking routes for Bolivian children to Argentina, Brazil and Chile, but also within these countries themselves, such is the case with Brazil.
ON July 23, 2004, Aguas Ocaña, Honduras’ first lady, announced that the government was preparing a lawsuit against the US organization ORPHANS OVERSEAS for offering an Internet network selling Honduran children for $11,500 each. "No one can or should sell our children," she added.
In an interview with the national HRN radio station, Ocaña affirmed that in 2003 the government had rejected a request from the US organization to operate in the country because it did not meet the legal requirements.
"The company is now publicizing itself on the Internet as an adoption agency operating in Honduras and what it is offering is the sale of Honduran children," she stressed.
Mexico is not exempt from this situation. In this country, it has been calculated that 20,000 children are involved in the pornography industry. One of the main centers is Tijuana, as well as beaches and tourist resorts, according to publicity on the Internet. The children, who have often been kidnapped, deceived and frequently terrorized, fall into the clutches of pedophiles and organizations that are not just involved in pornographic videos but also sexual violence and dangerous practices with defenseless minors whom they keep in captivity.
The main area to receive these children is Europe, according to Elena Azaola, director of the Social Anthropology Research and Higher Studies Center (CIESAS), in an interview given to Mexican television.
According to other reports, in the United States, the illegal trafficking of between 800,000 and 900,000 persons occurs every year across its borders. Of these immigrants, almost 50,000 are minors and many of them are from Latin America.
The flow of immigrants moves from countries in Central and South America to Mexico, and then onto the United States and Canada.