Nearly 50,000 sexual exploitation victims in Guatemala – report
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – Nearly 50,000 people – most of them girls aged 12 to 17 – are direct victims of sexual exploitation in Guatemala, two UN entities said in a joint report presented on Thursday, May 26.
Research by the UN children's agency UNICEF and the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) found that poverty – which affects 60% of Guatemala's population of 15 million – as well as a patriarchal society and domestic violence are chiefly responsible.
The report found that 64% of the 48,600 recorded victims were women, most under 18. Twenty-three percent of the victims were men and 13% were not registered by gender.
Not only Guatemalan women were ensnared by prostitution rings in the country: Colombians, Hondurans, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans were also exploited.
UNICEF's deputy representative in the Central American nation, Mariko Kagoshima, highlighted the case of a 12-year-old girl forced to provide 30 instances of sexual services a day.
Organized criminal groups make an estimated $1.6 billion a year from sexual exploitation in Guatemala, equivalent to 2.7% of the country's GDP, the report revealed. (READ: Abusive work conditions persist despite gains – UN report)
The activity amounted to "modern slavery," CICIG chief Ivan Valesquez said, urging greater penalties for property owners and business people who profited from such people trafficking. – Rappler.com