Mexico has been a major source, gateway, and destination for victims of all types of human trafficking and slave labor, affecting not only men and women but also refugees. Women, girls, LGBT people, aboriginal people, refugees, and people with mental and physical disabilities have become particularly exposed to human trafficking in Mexico (US Department of State par.1). Even though Mexican women and children experience fewer cases of sex trafficking than their counterparts, some of them still face the wrath of sex traffickers who entice them with falsework prospects and intimate relationships. However, this paper focuses on Chiapas, a Southern State of Mexico and it borders Guatemala that has now emerged as the epicenter of sex trafficking and forced prostitution. Initially, there were fears of danger to immigrants who were traveling to the North of Mexico (US Department of State par. 5). However, a new phenomenon has just appeared in the Southern State with incidences of human trafficking and forced prostitution. This essay examines the situation of sex trafficking in the Mexican State of Chiapas.
Mexico acts a transit for most people especially from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador who mostly are traveling to the US, Canada, and Western Europe. Consequently, it experiences one of the largest presence of immigrants hence the proliferation of sex trafficking. Minors from other countries such as the US, Canada, and Western Europe also fall into the trap of organized criminal networks who still subject them to sex trafficking (Acharya and Manuel 63).
Over the past decades, the Mexican government has majorly focused on fighting drug wars, a phenomenon that has seen the mainstream media spend all its efforts on the drug trade. However, there is now a new elephant in the room and has not attracted the necessary attention from the government and the media (Acharya 163). It is estimated that human trafficking attacks up to about 6.6 billion USD annually and it continues to grow due to its profitability. The fight against sex trafficking has faced three major challenges that include inadequate legal framework, poor data collection and management, and a large population of immigrants.
The Mexican government has no adequate legal framework that is capable of punishing the sex-trafficking perpetrators. The Mexican government has spent most of its efforts, time and resources of fighting drug trafficking and has ignored sex trafficking that mostly remains unregulated with the Mexican legal frameworks. It is, therefore, difficult to differentiate between prostitution, and sex trafficking is a herculean task despite the fact that prostitution is illegal for minors (Acharya 170). The absence of a strict and precise legal framework has seen predators unsuccessfully prosecuted. In that regard, the victims have been adversely affected particularly about accessing justice.
Mexico being a transit point has complicated the war against sex trafficking especially due to a large number of immigrants who enter the country. The large population of immigrants has piled a downward pressure of job opportunities hence most people are jobless and poor (Acharya and Manuel 65). In most cases, the promise of good jobs has been part of the bait that sex traffickers have been using to lure men, women, and children who end up in the hands of sexual exploiters for money. As a matter of life experience, every person has a dream of getting a decent job with an attractive income for better life, hence the problem gravitation in Mexican cities. Moreover, the position of women in the Mexican societies is partly a challenge for alleviating women from sexual exploitation.
Proper data collection and management is vital in combating any problem such as sex tracking. It is critical for the government to collect and manage relevant data concerning a particular phenomenon before it can embark on the solution path. However, the focus on drug trafficking has impaired data collection in cases of sex trafficking hence its proliferation.
The Mexican government established the Inter-Secretarial Commission within the Interior Ministry with an intention to focussing on preventing and sanctioning all forms of human trafficking. It also established anti-trafficking organizations at local, state and federal levels to help in the fight against human trafficking (Staudt et al. 45). However, such efforts failed due to lack of progress indicators that would have facilitated progress monitoring and inadequate funding.
The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) chapter located in Chiapas supports the Mexican government; civil society as well as the public sector in the prevention of trafficking in persons-_x0093_This Alliance focused on preventing human trafficking, particularly of youth, and raise awareness and increase visibility of the problem within Mexican society (PADF, par. 2)._x0094_ The organization has focused on the age bracket that is prone to sex trafficking.
I would propose that all anti-trafficking institutions should strengthen their collaborative efforts in the fight against sex trafficking especially in Chiapas and complete more reliable and dependable data on human trafficking. I would also push for legislation of the necessary laws and implementation relevant policies that would facilitate a crackdown on the perpetrators (Staudt et al. 71). However, I would also focus on appropriate funding. While mainstream media attention is critical, I would rule it out because actual implementation of policies, laws and funding programs do not rest with the media.
Acharya, Arun Kumar. “The dynamic of internal displacement, forced migration, and vulnerable to trafficking in Mexico.” Journal of Human Ecology 27.3 (2009): 161-170.
Acharya, Arunkumar, and Manuel R. Barragan Codina. “Poverty and trafficking of indigenous women in Mexico: Some evidence from Chiapas state.” Journal of Sustainable Society 1.3 (2012): 63-69.
Alravez, Roger A., et al. _x0093_Increasing Minority Research Participation Through Community Organization Outreach._x0094_ Western Journal of Nursing Research 28.5 (2006): 541-560. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
PADF. The Multisectoral Alliance To Reduce Human Trafficking.(2013). Retrieved from https://www.padf.org/reduce-human-trafficking/
Shelley, Louise. Human trafficking: A global perspective. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Staudt, Kathleen A., Tony Payan, and Z. Anthony Kruszewski, eds. Human rights along the US-Mexico border: Gendered violence and insecurity. University of Arizona Press, 2009.
US Department of State. Mexico; 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2016/258821.htm
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