Woah. And oddly enough, this story hasn’t had much repercussion in the local press. Maybe it’s not just Clarín that lies after all.
According to CNN, agents stormed over 70 locations in 10 different provinces where they rescued more than 200 Colombians working in subhuman conditions. They arrested 23 people for recruiting these modern-day slaves using the classic “we pay for your travel, you work for free forever to pay off the debt” model that is popular in the human trafficking industry worldwide. This time-tested model of tricking poverty-stricken people proceeds as follows: I charge you x dollars (please, the human-trafficking industry is better than pesos) to sneak you into a country and give you a job. I charge you y% interest on that x amount, and then pay you a small enough wage that what you OWE gets bigger faster than what you are paid.
In Cordoba province these raids focused on furniture-making workshops, but everyone knows the real money from trafficking humans comes from forced prostitution. But I guess illegal brothels full of teenagers need beds and chairs, right?
Argentine authorities have been tracking these rings for over two years since a victim spoke out to a customs agent. They followed the trend by observing young Colombians arriving in Cordoba with neither luggage nor money — just a dream in their hearts to make furniture for no money in subhuman conditions.
A year ago, a group of bishops in the region spoke out against human trafficking and pledged to work to fight it.
These trafficking operations are run by highly profitable mafias that use smaller networks in nearly all cities and towns, according to the bishops.
Hats off to the Argentine authorities for putting these international criminals out of business and hopefully into prison (for between four and 14 years if convicted).
Also, there’s some irony in posting this in Notparis, given that the majority of the movie Taken takes place squarely in the middle of (yes) Paris.