HAVANA , Jan. 22th Cuba on Saturday alerted its citizens to the dangers posed by seemingly legitimate “help wanted ads” posted by human traffickers.
“Supposed offers from abroad for Cuban dancers could be associated with illicit businesses, such as human trafficking, mainly of women, and their sexual and labour exploitation,” state daily Granma reported.
According to Isabel Moya, director of Editorial de la Mujer, a publishing house dealing in women’s issues, an increase in such job offers coincides with the growing number of Cubans travelling abroad.
“Trafficking has begun to appear in the country in keeping with an increase in migration and the means for Cubans to travel to other places,” Moya told the daily.
More than 800,000 Cubans have travelled abroad in the five years since the government introduced immigration reforms in 2013 that eliminated the need for a government permit to leave the country.
Human trafficking and forced prostitution are not prevalent in Cuba, with just 46 known cases between 2012 and 2015, which is why many Cubans are unaware of the dangers, said Moya.
In one recent incident, she said, up to 40 female Cuban dancers who agreed to travel to work at a well-known cabaret in Ankara, Turkey, were in reality duped by a prostitution ring.
“The case of the 40 dancers is not the only event related to the trafficking and exploitation of Cuban women lured by fake job offers abroad,” said Moya.
A quick search on Google immediately brought up scores of job offers for Cuban women abroad, preferably dancers, the most recent one posted on Jan. 13, 2018.
“The best way to prevent it is to explain and warn people about this phenomenon,” said Moya, who recently submitted a plan of action to Cuba’s National Assembly to stem human trafficking.