The government increased protection efforts. The Program for Rescue is the government office responsible for coordinating emergency victim services nationwide; in 2016, it reported identifying 666 potential trafficking victims, compared with 424 in 2015. This includes all individuals discovered during anti-trafficking law enforcement raids, some of whom were likely in exploitative labor situations that may not rise to the level of forced labor. Federal officials had formal procedures for victim identification and assistance; however, in practice, the procedures to identify victims among vulnerable populations varied by province. Some front-line responders had limited understanding of trafficking; the government did not make efforts to identify victims of domestic servitude. Regional governments in the provinces of Chaco, Santa Fe, La Pampa, Mendoza, and La Rioja operated anti-trafficking centers, which provided psychological, social, medical, and judicial assistance to trafficking victims. In 2016, the government opened two more centers, in the provinces of Chubut and Rio Negro. A government-funded NGO operated two shelters that assisted trafficking victims, one in Buenos Aires, and one in Tucuman. The Secretariat for Children, Adolescents, and Families also operated two shelters, one for children and one for women. There were no specialized shelters for male victims; therefore, the government often placed male victims in other government-funded shelters or in hotels for temporary housing, while others returned to their country or province of origin. The Program for Rescue reported all identified victims could receive emergency assistance during the early stages of the investigation and during the initial testimony for the courts; the Ministry of Social Development provided mid-term and long-term care assistance. NGOs reported a need for long-term housing, skills training and employment, childcare and legal assistance. Foreign victims had the same access to care as Argentine nationals; however, victims were sometimes unaware of services available. Authorities did not report how many received assistance during the reporting period. The government did not report the number of victims who received repatriation assistance. There were no reports of identified victims jailed or penalized for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their being subjected to trafficking. Authorities organized 50 training courses on victim identification and assistance, reaching 2,257 individuals, including officials, members of civil society, students, teachers, and health professionals.
The government encouraged the participation of victims in trials of their traffickers by assisting victims throughout the initial testimony and during any subsequent appearances. The Program for Rescue provided tribunals with reports on the psychological state of victims and what requirements they might have to assist in the prosecution of their traffickers. Other support for victim testimony included the possibility of video testimony and the use of recorded testimony. It was unclear how many victims received such assistance during the reporting period. In 2016, a victim of sex trafficking filed and won a civil suit against her traffickers and the municipality where the abuse occurred, marking the first time that a trafficking victim was awarded restitution from her traffickers and the state.