U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Venezuela
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||14 June 2004|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Venezuela, 14 June 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d82b28a.html [accessed 28 May 2016]|
Venezuela (Tier 3)
Venezuela is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation. Brazilian and Colombian women and girls are trafficked to and through Venezuela. Venezuelans are trafficked internally for the domestic sex trade and to Western Europe, particularly Spain. Venezuelan sex tourism that encourages underage prostitution is a concern. There are reports that in border areas Venezuelans are trafficked to mining camps in Guyana for sexual exploitation and abducted by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to be used as soldiers. Venezuela is a transit country for illegal migration; some of these migrants are believed to be trafficking victims.
The Government of Venezuela does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Due to Venezuela's current political situation, the government is not devoting serious attention or resources to trafficking in persons, which is a growing regional problem. The government carries out no anti-trafficking law enforcement; it has no victim protection policy. For these reasons, Venezuela is being reclassified from Tier 2 to Tier 3.
The government has no pro-active law enforcement strategy to combat trafficking. Human rights organizations and police have received some complaints about trafficking, but Venezuelan authorities maintain they have not identified a widespread problem. There were no reported arrests or convictions of traffickers in the context of internal underage prostitution or international trafficking in 2003. Venezuelan officials acknowledged that at least one human trafficking accusation was brought to their attention by the Spanish police, but stated that they found no evidence that a crime had taken place. Current information available from Spanish and Brazilian official sources indicates more cooperation with Venezuela is needed to investigate trafficking. For example, the Spanish police liberated at least 14 Venezuelans in forced prostitution in Spain in 2003. A major Brazilian study identifies 10 international trafficking routes into Venezuela. The anti-trafficking border agreement signed between Brazilian and Venezuelan authorities in 2003 ("Pact of Pacaraima") is a good start. Draft legislation addressing organized crime could potentially enhance Venezuelan's anti-trafficking efforts. In addition, penal code articles 174 and 389 prohibit and punish any form of slavery.
The government has no policy to protect trafficking victims. The government administers three shelters for battered women, including a telephone hotline, but officials keep no information on whether any trafficking victims find shelter there. The government does not train officials in identifying or rescuing victims. In the past, Venezuelan border officials summarily deported undocumented foreigners. The government is not aware if any of the deportees were trafficking victims, but automatic deportations of undocumented individuals are becoming less common due to the collaboration of Venezuelan border officials with the regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is based in Caracas.
The government does not formally acknowledge trafficking as a significant problem and conducts no information or education campaigns. The government provides some support for programs to empower women economically. To its credit, the government has removed immigration officials involved in human smuggling, which often can be linked to human trafficking. But Venezuela's long porous borders facilitate the movement of trafficked persons into and through the country and require better government control.