14 Latin American countries and the European Union explore new working methods to tackle human trafficking - EL PAcCTO
Latin America / Trafficking in Human Beings

14 Latin American countries and the European Union explore new working methods to tackle human trafficking

07 October 2021

More than 30 representatives of institutions in Latin America and the European Union, Europol and Interpol specialised in human trafficking met in Mexico City. The workshop, organised by the European Union EL PAcCTO programme, brought together members of the LYNX Network (network of specialised police promoted by EL PAcCTO) and representatives of the REDTRAM (Network against Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling) of the AIAMP (Anti-Money Laundering Working Group). All of them work directly in the investigation and prosecution of the crime of human trafficking. A transborder crime that has become the slavery of the 21st century.

In his welcome message, the Ambassador of the European Union in Mexico, Gautier Mignot, pointed out that human trafficking has a big Human Rights violation component. “It is an area in which we have to commit to getting results and saving more people from this crime,” he said.

Bárbara Escudero, Director of Cooperation with Europe, Asia and North America at the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID), stressed that cooperation with the European Union is of great importance. “It is extremely important to link the institutions we have here and those of all the countries in order to promote and achieve great progress. The migration issue is of great importance to everyone. It is necessary to innovate to improve people’s lives,” said Escudero.

Networking and cross-networking to tackle human trafficking

For his part, Juan Bermejo, representing the AIAMP Secretariat, stated that “organised crime is transnational and this has led to the creation of seven specialised AIAMP networks.  Alejandra Méngano, from the Argentine Prosecutor’s Office and representative of REDTRAM, participated virtually and explained that one of the objectives of the network is the creation of Joint Investigation Teams, a new way of working in Latin America that facilitates coordination between police and prosecutors from various countries. He added that REDTRAM also evaluates how the phenomena of mixed migratory flows influence human trafficking and the types of corruption that are associated with human trafficking.

Daniel Daher, delegate of the Brazilian Federal Police, who is now the executive secretary of the LYNX Network, said that the pandemic has shown that the routes are being changed, criminal organisations are changing their modus operandi and it is important for us to remain connected and integrated to deal with the new dynamics.

An idea shared by Johny Aguilera, Commander-in-Chief of the Bolivian Police, who recognised that the same routes used for smuggling or arms trafficking are those used by criminals for human trafficking. “A combination of investigation with new technological tools, generation of information in a prompt and timely manner and making sure crime does not pay” are essential to tackling this offence,” added Aguilera.

Successful experience in Bolivia against Human Trafficking

In addition to the creation of the LYNX police network and the ongoing work with the Ibero-American Network of Specialised Prosecutors against Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling (REDTRAM) of the AIAMP, EL PAcCTO has promoted the first Multidisciplinary Team Specialised in Human Trafficking in Bolivia, made up of specialised police and prosecutors. This team will jointly confront the crime of trafficking in the Andean country from now on.

Gaby Coca, representative of the Bolivian Police, announced that police and prosecutors are being trained in human trafficking issues. “The complexity of the crime means that we need to have a specialism in this regard” to be able to implement the Specialised Multidisciplinary Team effectively. In turn, Sarina Guardia, from the Bolivian Prosecutor’s Office, declared that “we will always be working hand in hand with the police to find effective responses to fight this offence.”

Finally, the crime of human trafficking was addressed by several experts from EL PAcCTO in this manual for investigating trafficking cases and in this manual on victim protection.