Northern Border Survey Reveals Population's Perception and Knowledge of Human Trafficking
IOM and the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) of
Vanderbilt University released the results of a study on the
awareness of the local population regarding human trafficking.
The study was carried out in the five municipalities along the
northern border with Colombia which are part of an IOM programme to
strengthen local government and citizen participation and which is
funded by the United States Agency for International Development
Three hundred persons chosen randomly were surveyed in five
municipalities in the eastern Amazon region and in Eloy Alfaro on
the Pacific coast.
The survey was carried out as a result of a study by the US
State Department, which determined that Ecuador is a source,
destination and transit country for victims of human trafficking.
USAID is supporting the Ecuadorian government in its efforts to
combat human trafficking.
The term "human trafficking" is relatively new and not often
used in Ecuador, especially in the rural municipalities where the
study was carried out. The study showed that the residents of one
municipality, Lago Agrio, are the most likely to be aware of cases
of labour and sexual exploitation with over 55 per cent of the
population responding affirmatively while the residents of the
municipality of Joya de los Sachas are the least likely to be
"Lago Agrio is a major oil-producing region and the most urban
of the five municipalities surveyed. It has always had a transient
population and for many years men made up the majority of the
population," explained Alejandro Guidi, Head of IOM projects on
Ecuador's Northern Border.
When asked which demographic segment of the population was the
most likely to be victimized by labour exploitation, 23 per cent of
respondents admitted not knowing the answer. The second most
commonly given response was that boys were the primary victims. On
the subject of sexual exploitation, 46 per cent of respondents felt
that adolescent girls were the most common victims, with 22 per
cent stating that they did not know.
The study asked participants if they knew where to go to report
cases of labour and sexual exploitation and where to get assistance
for victims. In Lago Agrio, more than 55 per cent said they knew
which institutions handled such cases. There is little variation
across the other municipalities with an average of about 35 per
cent of respondents responding that they were aware of where to
report trafficking and seek assistance for victims.
The responses have provided important information about the
awareness of human trafficking among Ecuadorian citizens. USAID
will be including these questions in a Democratic Values study to
be conducted nationwide in the coming months.
The full report can be downloaded from:
For more information contact