Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2017, 11:48 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Uruguay

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 4 June 2008
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Uruguay, 4 June 2008, available at: [accessed 19 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

URUGUAY (Tier 2)

Uruguay is a source and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most victims are women, girls, and some boys trafficked within the country to border and tourist areas for sexual exploitation. A government agency found that families had facilitated the exploitation of many children in prostitution. Impoverished parents reportedly turned over their children for domestic and agricultural servitude in rural areas. Some Uruguayan women have been trafficked to Spain and Italy for sexual exploitation.

The Government of Uruguay does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government enacted much-needed anti-trafficking legislation and increased efforts to convict and punish trafficking-related crimes, but its assistance to trafficking victims remained lacking.

Recommendations for Uruguay: Continue to increase law enforcement efforts against trafficking offenders; identify locations where suspected trafficking activity takes place, and conduct raids or other operations to rescue victims from such situations; increase victim services and protection efforts; and expand anti-trafficking training for judges and law enforcement personnel across the country.


The Government of Uruguay increased anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts over the last year. In December 2007, Uruguay enacted an anti-trafficking statute as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package. Article 78 of this new law prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, and prescribes penalties of four to 16 years' imprisonment, which are sufficiently stringent and exceed penalties prescribed for rape. Uruguayan law also criminalizes trafficking of minors and child pornography, prescribing penalties ranging from six months' to 12 years' imprisonment – penalties which are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes. Forced labor is prohibited under Section 1 of Title XI of the Uruguayan penal code, and punishable by six to 12 years' imprisonment, penalties which are sufficiently stringent. During the reporting period, the government secured three criminal convictions for child pornography. The government inspects legal brothels and other locations for the presence of minors. No victim rescues have been reported. The government cooperates with foreign authorities on international trafficking cases. There is no evidence of official complicity with human trafficking.


Due to limited resources, the Uruguayan government's efforts to protect trafficking victims remained inadequate during the year. While the government provided some assistance to NGOs working in the area of trafficking, the availability of victim services remained uneven across the country, especially outside the capital. The government does not have a formal system for identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as women in prostitution or undocumented migrants. The government encourages but does not force victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. Victims' rights are generally respected, and there were no reports of victims being jailed, deported, or otherwise penalized. Uruguayan law provides legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution. The government assisted IOM with the repatriation of three Uruguayans trafficked abroad last year.


The government modestly improved its efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of human trafficking, and collaborated with IOM to combat trafficking in tourist and border areas. The Ministry of Education continued to produce antitrafficking commercials for national television, and maintained its program of including anti-trafficking segments in its sex education curriculum. The government also sponsored two anti-trafficking workshops with participants from the region. Uruguayan troops deployed on international peacekeeping missions received anti-trafficking training at UN-certified training centers. Last year, there were no reported government efforts to reduce consumer demand for commercial sex acts.

Uruguay tier ranking by year

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