• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Shame on Cuba: Blind Eye to Human Trafficking

    “If the girls give me trouble I hurt them.” These are the words of human trafficker Aktham Zuhair Salem Madanat. Known for trafficking girls from Cuba to the United Kingom, Madanat had no qualms about openly discussing how he lured 10- and 11-year-old girls into the sex trade. In fact, Madanat is one of many involved in the lucrative human trafficking market throughout Cuba and beyond.

    In order to fight human trafficking, the State Department annually presents its Global Trafficking in Persons Report, a survey of 184 countries that measures compliance with human trafficking regulations specified in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).

    The 2011 Report places Cuba and Venezuela on the Tier 3 list.

    The Tier 3 designation is reserved for countries that do not comply with the minimum requirements in TVPA. Noncompliant countries receiving U.S. assistance can be sanctioned.

    Cuba’s placement on Tier 3 is both warranted and necessary. Because prostitution is not criminalized for anyone over the age of 16, it is difficult to track child prostitution in Cuba. Economic malfeasance in Cuba has forced many young women into the sex-for-sale industry. Cuba’s tourism industry generated around $2 billion just in the past year, and illicit sex is a burgeoning part of the tourism industry profile. In fact, it has been suggested that the Cuban government even encourages sex tourism as a source for foreign cash that keeps the communist regime afloat.

    Fidel and Raul Castro have turned a blind eye to sex tourism and human trafficking. One of Fidel Castro’s flippant brush-offs included the following:

    There are no women forced to sell themselves to a man, to a foreigner, to a tourist…Those who do so do it on their own, voluntarily and without any need for it. We can say that they are highly educated hookers and quite healthy…

    Such cynical views have landed Cuba a spot on Tier 3. Cuba’s blind eye toward sex tourism and human trafficking appears contradictory in a society where the state regulates virtually everything else.

    Venezuela, home to Castro ally Hugo Chávez, also experiences high levels of trafficking, where of the 40,000 to 50,000 sex trafficked children, 78 percent are girls between the ages of 8 and 17. Venezuela’s placement on Tier 3 is the result of a failure to enforce existing trafficking laws or enact new anti-trafficking legislation.

    Despite the large number of youth affected by human trafficking, Cuba and Venezuela continue to turn a blind eye to an age-old problem. It is striking how far these anti-American regimes will go to defy the U.S. in its efforts to eliminate the vestiges of modern-day slavery.

    Olivia Snow is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm


    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to Shame on Cuba: Blind Eye to Human Trafficking

    1. burgess says:

      I would not believe anything that comes out of the USA.The US has the Jimmy Swaggart complex,do as i say not as i do.I am 69 years old and i and i have looked on as this country installed and supported dictators all over the world I would venture to say that the USA.is one of the most hated countries in the world.take a good look at your own country..

    2. luis segui says:

      Cuba is under a cruel USA embargo that was meant to " …make the people scream.. Articles like these, Olivia, that omit the pressures of human beings under US pressure that is NOT covered by the press like yourselves. Would you blame the the abused wife for looking like a mess. the Cuban "model" was not ever allowed to develop. USA is the biggest arm dealer in the world we need our enemies to warrant our expenditures on "defense". And you are a paid voice for those same people that would keep this earth in perpetual war.

    3. carol,az says:

      Oh yes how shocking .
      Our cities are riddle with examples of human trafficking in our own back yard. It's been well documented . Added to that, transnational cartels have been kidnapping woman and girls who are illegal border crossers and enslaving them as a form of extortion. The border towns that line our border with MX, all known for this form of making money from tourist dollars. But ya know how we American are, we denounce the injustice of it and fail to clean-up our back yard. Maybe it will be in: "The Global trafficking in Persons Report."

    4. Aramis L. Perez says:

      My thanks to Ms. Snow and the Heritage foundation for shedding some light on this subject. Human trafficking and prostitution are sources of great suffering for the Cuban people, and the role played by the totalitarian regime in both must be subjected to greater scrutiny. Ms. Snow and Heritage have chosen to stand squarely with the victims of these terrible practices, as well as the oppressed Cuban people, and deserve our appreciation.

    5. LIborio says:

      The Castro brothers can claim to be the world's greatest pimps along with honorable mention for being sadistic butchers of their people.

    6. Pototo says:

      Why is this a shock to anyone. The Castro brothers have been involved in every Mafia like endeavor for over half a century. What state of mind would a father be in in Cuba, that makes him put his family in a raft, to go to the "hated" USA. Now multiply that by thousands of fathers that have and are still making that horrible decision. To flee the "great revolution".

    7. burgess says:

      Read a piece on MSNBC yesterday talking about human trafficking in the USA.This piece went on to say that this problem was out of control in New York.Very odd that this piece was only on for a short period of time,maybe Gov pressure?

    8. Amy says:

      Please show some reference to the name in the first paragraph. Surely she didn't talk to him herself…

    9. Bizworld says:

      I would not believe anything that comes out of the USA.The US has the Jimmy Swaggart complex,do as i say not as i do.I am 69 years old and i and i have looked on as this country installed and supported dictators all over the world I would venture to say that the USA.is one of the most hated countries in the world.take a good look at your own country..

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.