CHILE: “80% of Trafficking Victims are Women Because They are Seen as ‘Product,'” Says Embassy Expert

By Michelle Loubon on November 6, 2013—
““Eighty per cent of the victims of trafficking are women because they are seen as a ‘product’ which can be used more than once”, said Chilean Embassy gender expert Bernardita Prado.

She made this comment during a seminar on Gender Based Violence which was hosted by the Chilean Embassy, Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development and the United Nations at National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Keate Street, Port of Spain, recently.

Prado spoke on the topic the “Chilean Experience: Violence Against Women, main gap between women and men in Chile”.

Among those present were Chilean Ambassador Fernando Ayala; Clifton De Coteau, Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development; Dr Yitades Gebra, PAHO/WHO representative and Angeli Gajadhar of the Hindu Women’s Organisation of T&T.
Prado said: “Trafficking around the world is the third business after drugs and arms. The UN studies show women and girls are being trafficked for the last two years. You have to know the human being as a commodity is longer than the drugs or other ‘products’ that you use more than once. That means traffickers have to catch 70,000,000 women and girls each year to replace the ones who can’t be exploited any more in the market.”

Sharing data on reported violence over the last 12 months, Prado said: “The most frequent violence is the psychological 30.7 per cent, followed by physical violence (15.7 per cent) and the last one is sexual violence (6.3 per cent). For the ones who suffered psychological violence, 73 per cent do not make any official report. In the case of physical violence, 64 per cent don’t go to court and in the case of sexual violence 88 per cent don’t make a complaint.”

Prado cited the reasons women don’t report violence which included no results, being scared to make a complaint due to physical violence and shame due to sexual violence like rape and child abuse.

Recently, Kesha Sanchez was brutally murdered at her Guaico, Sangre Grande home. On Monday, Tobagonian Charmaine Phillip was stabbed to death by her brother Winston Phillip who later took his own life after ingesting a poisonous substance.

In Chile, Prado said government has passed a law against femicide since December 2010. Femicide is the act of killing a woman by a domestic partner or a member of a criminal enterprise. “Since we passed the law, we have decreased the number of cases in 38 per cent. In 2009, there were 55 cases of femicide. In 2010, there were 49 cases and in 2011, and in 2011, there were 34. But getting a decrease of cases is not enough, because one femicide is a tragedy that has to embarrass all our society,” said Prado. Among the other interventions were Violence Prevention Centres, intercultural centres (for First Nation peoples like Mapuche, Pehuenche) and centres for men who battered women.

They have established a free call centre, 24/7, with the possibility of calling from any device and installed a panic detector in the cellphone that the victims punch when they feel threatened by the aggressor. Paying special attention to female trafficking, Prado said for the first time, Chile has moved to establish a shelter for women victims of trafficking. “We created it in order to obey the Palerm Protocol and Chilean Trafficking Law (2011). Both rules reinforce the obligation of the state to give protection to the victims,” said Prado.”

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