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 Trafficking in Persons

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OAS / Department of Public Security / Trafficking in Persons
 

DPS > Trafficking in Persons > About Us

About US

Trafficking in Persons is a major criminal activity and a human rights violation that takes place in all countries of the Western Hemisphere.  Trafficking in Persons implies the exploitation of victims, generally through forced labor or commercial sexual activity by a criminal organization or "trafficker".  Trafficking can also imply the transfer of victims from one country to another but the international transfer is not a pre-requisite of its existence as it can also take place within a same country. 

Being a transnational problem, trafficking in persons is not a new phenomenon and its aspects are prohibited by different international conventions.  The International Community has clearly defined and banned these practices in the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. 

The majority of experts agree that Trafficking in Persons is a expanding problem in the Western Hemisphere.  However, despite the clandestine nature of the criminal activity it is difficult to obtain precise information on this topic.  As a larger portion of the population perceives emigration as a way to meet better living standards, a larger people are pushed to migrate in search for better work opportunities.  Much of these migrants leave their homes and are vulnerable to exploitation.  Trafficking in Persons can also take place in the context of internal migrations, from rural to urban areas.  In summary, trafficking in persons can result from international as well as internal migrations, and is expressed in domestic servitude, forced labor and sexual exploitation. 

However, migrations are not a pre-requisite for trafficking in persons.  Often victims of trafficking are children or adolescents under 18 who are involved in organized networks of prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation such as child pornography.  Legally, a child does not have the capacity to give his/her consent for commercial sexual exploitation, organized by a third partie; thus, the sexual exploitation of children qualifies as a form of trafficking in persons in the international convention.  The commercial sexual exploitation of children can also take place in the context of sexual tourism, an area of primary concern in the Hemisphere. 

The Western Hemisphere has only recently began to discuss trafficking in persons.  The OAS General Assembly in its resolutions 1948 y 2019 decided on the nomination of a Coordinator against Trafficking in Persons.  This has set the basis for the fight against human trafficking in the Hemisphere.  The OAS has recognized the importance of this issue and the potential dammages it can create.  In other words, trafficking in persons can affect the social welfare, legality, public health and the economy of the region and must therefore be fought. 


Our Strategy


Trafficking in Persons has become a growing concern in the Region and cannot be fought in a unilateral way.  The strategy to combat trafficking in Persons requires the combination of national efforts, bilateral measures and multilateral cooperation.  The main objective of the Section against Trafficking in Persons is to implement measures against human trafficking from a regional perspective.  The Section provides the necessary logistical information for the organization of training seminars, technical assistance, exchange of information and proposals.  In this line of action, the Section develops new information, monitors new literature on this topic and compiles existing reports and documents. 

The main ares of work against Trafficking in Persons consist of:

- Raise awareness and expand the knowledge on the problem of trafficking in persons
- Share information with the governments of the OAS Member States and the civil society
- Identify policies that help reduce trafficking in persons
- Work with government officials in the implementation of concrete measures against trafficking in persons
- Identify new partners and financial resources to fight trafficking in persons in the Hemisphere

For this purpose, the Section works on 4 key areas:

- Promote the work of the governments at the national level
- Promote best practices in prevention, protection, investigation and conviction of trafficking in persons
- Create new alliances in the Hemisphere
- Implement the projects and programs of the OAS against trafficking in persons as well as the development of new projects and programs. 

Last update: January 2010
 

 


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