Call on the OAS for greater protection for victims of trafficking in Latin America

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Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay do not adequately identify and assist trafficking victims, most of them women and girls, according to a study presented today by Women's Link Worldwide at the Organization of American States.

The independent organization Women’s Link Worldwide today called for greater protection for trafficking victims in Latin America, especially women and girls, in the Organization of American States (OAS), after studying their situation in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay.

The organization, with offices in Bogotá and Madrid, chose the headquarters of the OAS in Washington to present its report “Victims of Trafficking in Latin America, between deprotection and indifference” with the objective of calling the countries of the region To take both internal and transnational measures.

With this work, the independent entity “seeks to show the contrast between the legal framework of the states and the situation of victims of trafficking,” said its regional legal director, Carmen Cecilia Martínez.

The five countries studied, he added, “unprotected victims of trafficking” for several reasons, including lack of knowledge about the problem, lack of protocols and clear routes of care, and lack of services for the recovery of those affected.

Furthermore, according to this report, none of the five countries analyzed produces unified or reliable data that allows the magnitude, dynamics, victim profiles or geographic areas most affected.

Diagnoses on the impact of trafficking are usually made by social organizations and international agencies.

Another problem common to the five countries studied is that “investigations and convictions for the crime of trafficking are low.”

In addition, when dealing with trafficking, States emphasize the criminal and migratory control, “over and above human rights”.

In that sense, Women’s Link Worldwide reported that migrants are deported or returned “without individually evaluating their cases or whether they are potential victims of trafficking or not.”

Thus, the organization called for no returns, either within the same country or to others, without making previous assessments of the risk that victims are returning to their places of origin.

On the other hand, he said that assistance to victims should not depend on their willingness to collaborate with officials responsible for prosecuting crime, because prioritizing criminal prosecution of human rights “puts them at greater risk.”

Another of its recommendations is to create places of welcome where victims can receive comprehensive care, even in the identification phase.

In Mexico and Ecuador there are centers of civil society organizations that provide this service, but “the resources allocated to them by the State are not enough.”

And in all five countries, “shelters do not have differential approaches, and women victims of trafficking can not be received with their children.”

Another aspect shared by these nations is the need to “train security, judicial, migration, social worker and consular officials” on how to detect and treat trafficking.

This is key to ending situations like the Colombian Marcela Loiza, who, she explained today, felt “questioned by the State” when she denounced the sexual exploitation of the victim in Japan, something she was about to do To stop cooperating with the investigation.

Loiza, who now has a foundation with his name to care for victims of trafficking, stressed the need to “educate professionals” who somehow address this problem, “both journalists, psychologists or judges.”

In that sense, he reported that in some formations he promoted, the least attended were judges and prosecutors, and the “one or two” who were “questioned him thirty thousand times” before allowing him to speak.

Almost two decades after being a victim, he regrets “the many failures that continue to be committed on this issue,” which he says is “not given priority at the state level.”

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