Reducing Human Trafficking Through the "Our Sunrise" Project

Fadrique Iglesias, Child Protection Unit Senior Program Officer, and Surina Goel, Communications Intern

July 30, 2019

Today, we celebrate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, an issue that has exploited at least 225,000 victims detected worldwide since 2003, according to the United Nations.

At Partners of the Americas, we believe in the power of partnerships to empower citizens to become agents of change, working together with governments, the private sector, and civil society. We take this same comprehensive approach to combat human trafficking. 

Under the Palermo Protocol, trafficking in persons is defined as: “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Trafficking in persons affects vulnerable groups, especially children. According to the INSPIRE report, prepared by the World Health Organization in 2016, over half of all children aged 2-17 years old have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual violence in the previous year. Childhood violence leads to a greater risk of mental illnesses and anxiety disorders, chronic diseases, diabetes, cancer, infectious diseases like HIV, and social problems such as crime and drug abuse. Strategies to reduce violence against children, such as the implementation of laws, may reduce the frequency of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is an issue prevalent across many countries in Latin America. In Brazil, traffickers exploit victims in forced labor after they join certain churches or religious cults. In Colombia, improvements are needed to provide better access to offender support programs and increase the issue’s visibility in the media. In Paraguay, there is an urgency to adopt reforms to eliminate situations of criadazgo (child servitude) and the related abusive practices and working conditions that may amount to trafficking. 

Here at Partners, we are combating human trafficking in Latin America through our new project in Paraguay, Ñande Ko’ê (“Our Sunrise” in Guaraní). Funded by the U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Person, this project addresses human trafficking in Paraguay with an emphasis on sex and labor trafficking. Its goal is to strengthen Paraguay’s capacity to prevent and process cases of human trafficking and protect victims. In line with the three TIP Office programming objectives for Paraguay, this project aims to reach its goal through a) strengthening local and national networks to combat trafficking; b) improving comprehensive services for victims of trafficking, and; 3) strengthening state institutional capacity to address the issue of trafficking.

Ñande Ko’ê offers a comprehensive approach to combatting human trafficking by improving the capacity of civil society organizations and the public and private sectors to protect children and adult victims. Partners and the allied implementing organization, Grupo Luna Nueva (GLN), have established a strong relationship with key private sector actors that will assist in the implementation of this project. Within the next three years, Ñande Ko’ê will impact Paraguay at both a national and regional level, with special attention to the regions of Caaguazú and Itapúa.

The atrocity of human trafficking is a complex problem that we will only be able to face if we forge partnerships with governments, the private sector, and civil society. Through real and effective partnerships we can fearlessly raise awareness and make a difference!

Join the conversation to stop human trafficking through the hashtags, #HumanTrafficking and #EndHumanTrafficking.