There are an estimated 55,000 people living in modern slavery in Argentina (GSI 2018). Argentine women and children are subjected to sex trafficking within the country, as are women and children from other Latin American countries, particularly Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Brazil. To a more limited extent, Argentine men, women, and children are subjected to sex and labour trafficking in other countries, mostly in Europe. Men, women, and children from Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, and other countries are subjected to forced labour in a variety of sectors, including sweatshops, agriculture, street vending, charcoal and brick production, domestic work, and small businesses.
Antonella was fourteen years old when she decided to cross the border between Bolivia and Argentina. She was forced to live and work in the Bolivian City Potosi for three months.
I went with a friend of mine. We just crossed the river, we didn’t think much about it. There were some Chinese people. All we had to do was cleaning. Some of us had to work as waitresses, others in the kitchen.
[Interviewer asks if they slept in a room together]
Yes, we did. With only one bed, yes. There were a lot of girls. Some were alone, others with babies and we all lived together. I’m glad now I have my mum next to me. Other people don’t. No one is as brave as her. I keep asking myself, what would I be doing there now? How would my life be? I have no idea.
Narrative provided by Al Jazeera