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South American law enforcement officials trained on investigating human trafficking

( IOM ) -  As part of on-going efforts to combat human trafficking in South America, specialized police, prosecutors and judges from nine countries are participating this week in a Training for Investigators of Human Trafficking in South America in Buenos Aires, Argentina.




The four-day event is an interagency effort organized by IOM, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).  IOM experts from Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia will be part of the group of trainers.


Trafficking in persons affects all countries in South America. Victims are forced into sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and labour sectors including mining, agriculture, construction, textiles, fishing and marine transport. In line with international, regional and national commitments, all governments in the region are actively working to respond to this crime.


"IOM works with counter-trafficking partners across the region, including law enforcement," says Diego Beltrand, Regional Director of IOM for South America. "IOM counter trafficking activities also include direct assistance to victims, efforts to strengthen related legislation, and targeted capacity building and support to strengthen key actors, such as those in the judicial system, and research on trafficking trends."


"This training is a collaborative effort with IOM and UNODC and is the culmination of the Spartacus project started in 2011, which included a regional trafficking assessment followed by an international police operation and an evaluation.  Based on these findings we planned this training in order to highlight lessons learned to optimize the upcoming release of Spartacus II," says Rafael Peña Hernández, INTERPOL Regional Head for South America.


"We also aim with this event to improve the relationships between the different actors - investigators, specialized units, prosecutors and judges.  Working together with IOM and UNODC allows us to promote a comprehensive response to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons," he adds.


The team of counter-trafficking specialists from IOM, INTERPOL and UNODC will provide targeted training on the investigation of human trafficking to 60 police, prosecutors and judges on topics such as specialized approaches to facilitate the participation of victims in the judicial process, tools for international cooperation among police, and a comparative review of related legislation in the region.


Every year, millions of migrants fall into the hands of unscrupulous people who force them into exploitation through deceit, violence and debt.  Human traffickers prey on men, women and children looking for a better life, often tricking them with offers of a good job somewhere far from home.