In a national raid across some 70 locations, Argentine law enforcement forces rescued more than 200 Colombians working as part of a national slavery ring. Twenty-three were arrested for recruiting the victims. Authorities say that the accused brought Colombians to Argentina then forced them to work off debt that are either high or manageable, but sees the victim make so little or their progress not documented. This results in the victim never leaving because they’re unaware of how much they’re making or they’re aware and know it’s not making a dent in their debt at all.
Of the slavery ring Carlos Sanchez—Director General of Social Security in Argentina—said of the slavery ring: “We are looking at a case of slave labor, but in the modern concept of the term. They are not in chains.” According to Sanchez, the workers were manipulated and conditioned to work for the ring in the worst of conditions.
The overall investigation in the ring’s activities went on for over two years and was sparked when a victim got in contact with an Argentine customs agent about the criminal group. Cordoba International Airport investigated further when they noticed Colombians arriving in the country with no money or luggage to speak of.
While people are now free and some parts of the ring busted up, there’s no telling how deeply the roots go and how far they run throughout South America or even elsewhere. On top of that, those arrested are looking at sentences of just four to fourteen years. This means that some of the 23 captured could return to doing their deplorable acts and miss very little in how everything is restructured and how the ring is running. Liken it to a crime boss or lower member who manages to get a fairly light sentence. Once out they can go right back to doing whatever it was they were doing before without being too out of place.
There’s also a question of how far up the chain of command these who were arrested are. If they’re two or third tier that won’t hobble the ring at all. They’re pretty much replaceable.