Clean Hearts, But Eyes Wide Open

Through the inclusive promotion of dignity as its best resource our country fights against human trafficking every day

By: Various Authors


2017-04-10 | 12:57:35 EST
Trafficking of personsTrafficking of persons Photo: Juventud RebeldeZoom

April 10, 2017

If Cuba were the Paradise the Revolution would no longer be necessary. There are still things which do not fit our aspirations, like those included in a 2016 report, made by our authorities, about the fight from justice against human trafficking and other crimes related to the exploitation and sexual abuse: some individuals forced 14 and 15 year-old underage peoples to have sex with Cubans and foreigners, uncles of a boy forced him to have intimate acts with others until he fell ill, a “father” submitted his 10 year-old daughter to child molestation of others and a “mother” sold her 12 year-old daughter´s dignity. All the criminals were prosecuted.

There were more cases. In 2015 our courts registered 52 crimes of procurement and 90 of corruption of minors. Ten records were connected with features of human trafficking.

Like in other dangers, in that of human trafficking the Cubans, benefitted by a process in which justice prevails, we need greater risk perception. Here no matter how few or who the mafias are, we also have failures and the most vulnerable around the world are: women, children and illegal immigrants. A single victim is too much for the project we defend.

The country has nothing to hide. The arrival in Havana of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of human trafficking victims, especially women and children, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, is in line with a zero tolerance policy and full transparency about the management that has been recorded in annual reports on the struggle against this problem.

While other countries are persecuting these violations. Cuba is committed to prevent and to face human trafficking by reducing it to zero in a social context where a single manifestation of this phenomenon is too much. Even here, deceit, constraint, physical and psychological violence can affect the individual´s self-determination.

The World Day of Awareness Against Human Trafficking is on July 30, but Cuba following Marti´s premise of full dignity as the first principle is enshrined in the Constitution, that dedication is a fact every day. On the one hand, the civil organizations prevent the evil alongside the authorities; on the other hand, the national and international cooperation is assumed as a priority.

Cuba is a member state of the Palermo Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and of its Protocol on human trafficking taking on the responsibility it entails. The national legislation, in line with the international instruments of the Convention, has the legal provisions to prevent and fight both, direct human trafficking and the associated crimes like procurement, prostitution, pornography and child prostitution.

These cases describe the sexual exploitation in the family and similar environments. There is no connection with organized criminal networks, or cases of labour exploitation,organ removal, slavery or semi-slavery like those existing even in developed countries.

The Cuban Adjustment Act imposed by the US Congress, still in force, also contributes to human trafficking, since it has favored these practices: an unspecified number of migrants have been forced to pay for its entry to the US in abhorrent ways. Only in 2015, 28 victims of human trafficking returned to the country.

In addition to a powerful social framework within communities, the country´s shield against this practice includes its active participation in international forums such as the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Its Optional Protocols 1 and 2, as well as the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in People, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the 2000 UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

If the UN has a Global Plan of Action to fight human trafficking, which recognizes that poverty, unemployment, lack of socio-economic opportunities, gender-based violence, discrimination and marginalization make people more vulnerable, the goals of socialism Cuba is buiding amid difficulties is aimed at the freedom and security of people.

 Defined as recruitment, transportation, or reception of people through threats, intimidation and other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power, exploitation of the vulnerability of the other, concession or Receipt of payments to obtain the complicity of a person who has authority over the affected person, trafficking shows its face of ignominy in the prostitution of others, forced labor or service, slavery and the removal of organs ... so it will not agree on a deal in Cuba.

Nonetheless, from families to institutions it is necessary to keep eyes wide open and the hearts clean. That globalization which is seen by many as a mere technological phenomenon has facilitated some practice of human piracy and exploitation. The International Organization for Migration refers that every year a million people are deceived, submitted and sold as late slaves of the 21st Century. While we help liberate them all, we fight to keep those chains away from the Cubans´ hands.

Translated by ESTI                    

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