In Ecuador, the most common form of human trafficking involves women and girls forced into sex work, with indigenous women and children and migrants especially targeted.
Traffickers prey on poor indigenous families and their children by offering false promises of opportunities to study or good jobs, often as domestic workers or farm laborers.
"People are tricked. They are offered everything," said Magdalena Fueres, an indigenous leader who belongs to Ecuador's kichwas people.
"Girls who have been trafficked don't report what's happened to them because of shame and fear," said Fueres, who heads UNORCAC, an association of indigenous women in Ecuador.
Their fear often stems from the traffickers' threats to harm their family, she said.
Indigenous people make up about seven percent of Ecuador's population of more than 16 million, with 14 different indigenous groups living from the Amazon jungle to the Andean highlands.
Forced child begging on city streets and forced labor involving indigenous men also occurs in Ecuador's gold and copper mines, and banana and palm plantations, experts say.
Traffickers are known to lure people from their own communities and can face punishment under traditional laws. Read more
|Author:||Anastasia Moloney |