Chile: Human Trafficking Rings Dismantled in Massive Operation

Published: 09 September 2023

Chile police Human-Trafficking

The operation involved 150 officers of the Chilean Investigative Police (PDI). (Photo: Fiscalía y el Ministerio Público de Chile, License)

By Lieth Carrillo

Authorities in Chile announced the rescue of 35 victims and the detention of 19 suspected members of criminal organizations involved in trafficking women for sexual exploitation. Their operations took place in the capital of Santiago and the northern part of the country.

For a year, the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Chilean Investigative Police (PDI) had been investigating these organizations, determining the individuals in charge of their structures and their modus operandi. Both groups were led by Venezuelan nationals.

"They are two long-term investigations, both quite similar in terms of the number of properties we have raided, as well as in terms of how they operate. These are organizations of foreigners who recruited people, victims, engaged in commercial sex work in the city," stated Chief Prosecutor Cristian Aliaga Ayarza.

During the operation, law enforcement officers raided 13 properties, obtained testimonies, and seized various items, including documents, computers, phones, digital files, vehicles, over a kilo of marijuana, cartridges of different calibers, alcohol, tobacco, and more than US$84,000. Additionally, they froze 25 bank accounts held at six different financial institutions.

The Victim and Witness Attention Unit of the Regional Prosecutor's Office also played a crucial role in the operation. Their primary concern was to provide support to these women who had been exposed to very complex situations, especially since most of them lacked support networks in Chile.

On Wednesday, the detainees were handed over to judicial authorities for further legal proceedings.