Media Center

Press Release


  March 17, 2006

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert R. Ramdin, today brought to a close the first hemispheric meeting of National Authorities on Trafficking in Persons, which took place in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

During the four-day meeting in Margarita Island, representatives of the 34 OAS member countries studied issues related to exploitation, smuggling of human beings and other trafficking-related human rights violations, concluding with a comprehensive strategy to eliminate this international crime.

The conclusions and recommendations agreed on by the experts included measures on prevention; prosecution of perpetrators; protection and assistance for victims; and multilateral cooperation on the issue. These recommendations will be taken under consideration by the Ministers of Justice of the Americas at their April 24-26 meeting in the Dominican Republic.

Speaking to the plenary during the closing session, the OAS Assistant Secretary General said that human trafficking violates “universal human rights: the right to liberty and freedom from slavery in all its forms.”

Ramdin emphasized the need to continue working together to address the devastating effects of this crime, cautioning that “the issue demands not only the utmost attention from international community but also from the national authorities of our member states and all members of society.”

The Assistant Secretary General pointed out that the dialogue carried out during the last few days “underscores the importance for more effective legislation, prevention tools, assistance models, public policies and cooperation mechanisms among national and international partners striving to end human trafficking.”

This concept was included in the recommendations for member states to consider implementing, at the national level, all legislative measures designed to criminalize activities related to trafficking in persons, in accordance with the obligations set forth in the United Nations Convention Against Organized Transnational Crime.

Among those participating in the meeting were several high-level Venezuelan officials – including the Deputy Minister of Juridical Security, Rafael Jimenez Dan; the Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations for North America and Multilateral Affairs, Maria Pilar Hernandez; and Attorney General Isais Rodriguez – as well as representatives of civil society.

Reference: E-063/06