On September 23, 1913, more than a century ago, the first legal norm in the world against child prostitution was promulgated. It was in Argentina, and that Law 9143 was known as the “Palacios Law”, since it was drafted and promoted by the Socialist deputy Alfredo Palacios. In 1999, the World Conference of the Coalition Against Human Trafficking, in coordination with the Women’s Conference that took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, that same year, decided to declare each September 23 as the International Day against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of People.
According to the Public Ministry of Defense of the Argentine Republic, “human trafficking is a multi-offensive crime that violates freedom, self-determination, dignity, and physical, mental and sexual integrity, among other areas of life. And it can affect women, men, girls and boys”. In addition, the body of the national and federal justice system that is responsible for the defense and protection of human rights in Argentina demands that “responses to exploitation and human trafficking must focus on prevention, investigation, trial and punishment of those responsible, as well as support and reparation for the victims”.
The World Report produced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that women and girls are the main victims of human trafficking, with percentages of 51% and 20%, respectively. To this current situation, in which the overlap of social categories such as gender, age, racial factors and economic position affect the exposure of certain groups to trafficking and exploitation, today there is concern about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in trafficking, since “the lack of housing, health services and legal assistance, among others, can increase the vulnerability of victims, exposing them to the disease” according to the UNDOC report.