Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Venezuela and human Trafficking

The Washington Post reports that Venezuela is again placed in a short list of countries that do not fight human trafficking, the modern day form of human slavery. That is, those countries do not fight actively cross border prostitution, children sales, etc…

I do not know how the state department makes its calculation or if Venezuela indeed deserves to be included in that list, but here, from ground zero, there is enough evidence to think that the government could not care less if women are sold into prostitution or if children are taken out for some ungodly purpose.

The crime rate has more than doubled in recent years and shows no sign of decrease. The government does not care. You will see anytime much more soldiers and policemen cordoning a peaceful student march than on the beat at night in the barrios where we are in a civil war situation worthy of Iraq except for the car bombs.

Cuba is also on that list. The in-famous jineteras tells us the story of official prostitution. Brothels in Venezuela seem to be flourishing. Drug trafficking is on the rise. Venezuela is now recognized as a major transit areas and national drug consumption seem on the rise although no good numbers can be obtained. Apparently the government does not care much about that problem either. All points to gangs organizing all sort of deals that include sex and drugs, under the indifferent, when not accomplice, gaze of authorities. Oh yes, they make more catches, but there is no telling if the increase drug bust are a reflection of more efficiency or more traffic through Venezuela.

The kidnapping industry is flourishing, in particular in the Western area of the country. Now the problem is a calamity in Tachira and Zulia, but other states such as small Yaracuy are reporting monthly kidnappings (not to mention those that are not reported since quite often the families think that they’re is collusion between police and kidnapping gangs and prefer not to say anything and negotiate on their own). When kidnapping becomes almost an open air industry you know that respect for human life and condition is reaching new lows. What else can hide behind that? The Faddul brothers crime is a constant reminder that life in Venezuela is everyday cheaper and cheaper. People willing to collaborate on such activities soon will have no problem selling children and women into prostitution.

So yes, I do not know how the state department comes out with that result, but I have absolutely no problem in believing it: the Venezuelan government does not care so gangs can move in without any problem while authorities are only concerned about political events and propaganda.

-The end-

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