Title

Human Trafficking Cases in Chile: Challenges for Reducing the "Dark Figure"

Date of Publication

2018 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Transnational Organized Crime

Keywords

Chile, human trafficking, Tarapacá, trans-border trafficking, border control, securitization, dark figure, multiple system estimation, invisibilization, transnational organized crime, Latin America

Description

At the global level, human trafficking estimates face a few limitations regarding dark figure. In addressing this type of crime, the Chilean criminal justice system is characterized by a deficient performance both in terms of identification of victims and conviction rates. This concerning situation is largely driven by the operation of several biases and shortcomings that conceal the perpetration of human trafficking acts in Chile. A paradigmatic example of this is the fact that there have been no trafficking cases brought to court in Tarapacá, a trans-border Chilean region with highest proportion of foreign population. Taken together, these facts point to a structural problem associated to processes of globalization and securitization of the border in the context of an institutional culture deeply rooted in a national security doctrine. In this scenario, drawing on a systematic review of the relevant case law in Chile, this article reflects on human trafficking dynamics in the context of a highly securitized border region in Latin America. The focus is on the mechanisms by which these cases are known and processed by the criminal justice system, with special attention to elements with a high potential for estimating the dark figure through the Multiple System Estimation method and for reducing these multiple biases and limitations. From this analysis, critical recommendations are drawn for both law enforcement and border control agencies to reduce this dark figure of human trafficking cases. This paper thereby assumes that situated research is essential to overcome these shortcomings, since it leads to consider the influence of local, historical, and structural factors in the study of this largely invisible criminal phenomenon.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Human Trafficking Cases in Chile: Challenges for Reducing the "Dark Figure"

At the global level, human trafficking estimates face a few limitations regarding dark figure. In addressing this type of crime, the Chilean criminal justice system is characterized by a deficient performance both in terms of identification of victims and conviction rates. This concerning situation is largely driven by the operation of several biases and shortcomings that conceal the perpetration of human trafficking acts in Chile. A paradigmatic example of this is the fact that there have been no trafficking cases brought to court in Tarapacá, a trans-border Chilean region with highest proportion of foreign population. Taken together, these facts point to a structural problem associated to processes of globalization and securitization of the border in the context of an institutional culture deeply rooted in a national security doctrine. In this scenario, drawing on a systematic review of the relevant case law in Chile, this article reflects on human trafficking dynamics in the context of a highly securitized border region in Latin America. The focus is on the mechanisms by which these cases are known and processed by the criminal justice system, with special attention to elements with a high potential for estimating the dark figure through the Multiple System Estimation method and for reducing these multiple biases and limitations. From this analysis, critical recommendations are drawn for both law enforcement and border control agencies to reduce this dark figure of human trafficking cases. This paper thereby assumes that situated research is essential to overcome these shortcomings, since it leads to consider the influence of local, historical, and structural factors in the study of this largely invisible criminal phenomenon.