The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates 70,000 people are trafficked a year in Colombia
These are just some of the ways women and girls get caught in sex trafficking rings, according to a report by Women's Link Worldwide, a global women's rights group, which says human trafficking inside Colombia has become an 'endemic practice'.
Ariadna Tovar, the report's lead author, said
"But what's less known is that
"Human trafficking isn't seen as a problem inside
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates 70,000 people are trafficked a year in
Until recently, Latin America was known as a region from which people were trafficked, but more people are being trafficked through countries in
Improved security and a waning guerrilla insurgency has fuelled a mining boom - both legal and illegal - drawing male labourers from across the country who typically leave their wives and partners behind to work in remote, inhospitable areas where organised crime networks operate.
"There's human trafficking going to mining areas, including gold mining areas, like in the Choco province. There's a flow of women to mining areas where there's sexual exploitation going in," Tovar said.
Greater security has also attracted record numbers of tourists to the country which in turn is driving a growing demand for sex tourism, particularly along its
TRAPPED BY THREATS AND DEBT
Women and girls who are poor and unemployed are most vulnerable to being sexually exploited because they are more likely to be lured by a recruiter's false promises of money and a better life, the report said.
Once caught in trafficking rings, it is hard to escape, the report said. Victims can be held captive or trapped by threats to themselves or their families and children.
"Some are locked up, as in the cases of (Colombian) women we've come across trafficked to
Sex trafficking often results in debt bondage, which involves a women being held against her will until she earns enough money to repay the trafficker for travel and other expenses.
The debt, however, usually becomes impossible to pay off.
"There're cases where traffickers will pay for dental braces and plastic surgery, which only means victims get more into debt," Tovar said.
DISPLACED WOMEN MORE VULNERABLE
Women and girls who have been driven from their homes by fighting between government troops, leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitary groups that has lasted 50 years are at heightened risk of human trafficking, the report found.
The report based on 2012 research in two areas of
"Because of high unemployment and poverty rates in the regions where we did our research, prostitution is seen as a job option and it's seen as something that's normal and commonplace," Tovar said.
"As prostitution is legal in
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