Sex trafficking 'staggering' in illegal Latin American gold mines-researchers

BOGOTA,  (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The scale of sex trafficking around illegal gold mines in parts of Latin America is "staggering," and thousands of people working there are prey to labour exploitation by organised crime groups, a think-tank said on Wednesday.

"When these mines are directly controlled by criminal groups, or in areas controlled by organised crime, there is an elevated risk of human trafficking," the report by the Geneva-based organisation said.

"In Colombia and Peru particularly, and to a lesser extent in the other countries studied, our research uncovered numerous instances of labour trafficking and exploitation, sex trafficking and child labour."

The report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime examined the links between illegal gold mining, organised crime and human trafficking in nine countries – Peru and Colombia, the region's largest producers of illegal gold, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

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(Reporting by Anastasia Moloney, editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)