U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bolivia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bolivia, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3a023.html [accessed 23 April 2014]|
Bolivia (Tier 2)
Bolivia is principally a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Members of indigenous communities are particularly at risk for labor exploitation. Many victims are children trafficked internally for forced labor in mining and agriculture and suffer harsh conditions. Other victims are trafficked within the country and to neighboring South American countries and Europe, particularly Spain. Bolivian workers have been trafficked to sweatshops in Argentina and Brazil, and to Chile and Peru for involuntary servitude. Illegal migrants from Asia transit Bolivia; some may be trafficking victims.
The Government of Bolivia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so, despite limited resources. The government made modest but steady progress in key areas over the last year, and government officials demonstrated a heightened commitment to fight trafficking through enhanced law enforcement actions, expanded victim protection services, and increasing prevention efforts. The government should intensify work in all these areas, and endeavor to pass amendments to its anti-trafficking laws, currently under consideration in Bolivia's Congress, to provide greater services and legal protections for victims. The government also should focus more attention on cases of trafficking for labor exploitation in mining and construction sectors. It should continue to root out any official complicity with trafficking, and review suspected cases of labor exploitation.
The Government of Bolivia increased law enforcement efforts against trafficking crimes over the last year. Pursuant to a comprehensive law passed in 2006, the government prohibits all forms of trafficking, and prescribes penalties of up to 12 years' imprisonment, which are commensurate with that for rape and sufficiently stringent. Special anti-trafficking police and prosecutors opened 36 trafficking prosecutions across the country in 2006, and rescued more than 70 teenage victims from trafficking situations. In a landmark case in Cochabamba, the regional Attorney's Office secured the convictions of two traffickers for enslaving an 11-year-old child, resulting in jail sentences of three and six years each. The government also took important steps to confront suspected official involvement with trafficking by opening a criminal investigation of 18 public employees, including four members of the Bolivian Congress. Bolivian authorities cooperated in joint investigations of international trafficking cases with police from Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Spain. The government relies on outside sources for training and materials for key anti-trafficking personnel.
The Bolivian government committed more resources to assist trafficking victims, but services remain inadequate overall and unavailable to many victims, especially outside the capital. Nonetheless, the Prefecture of the Department of La Paz in June 2006 opened a shelter for victims of sexual exploitation that now provides care for 36 teenage girls. La Paz's city government also operates an emergency shelter which assists trafficking victims. The government does not encourage victims to assist with the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. Although the government generally respects the rights of trafficking victims, some are jailed or penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being trafficked.
The government increased prevention and public awareness efforts in 2006 by enacting a decree requiring international airports to air a television segment on the risks of trafficking. The Bolivian National Police launched a campaign to warn parents, school children, and municipal authorities about the twin dangers of human trafficking and drug use. The government also worked closely on prevention activities with NGOs and international organizations.