Countries must strengthen international cooperation to combat trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling

21 September, 2011 - Implement effective tools to combat trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. This is the purpose of the Second Ibero American Summit of Public Prosecutors against Trafficking in Persons, which gathers until Friday 23 lawyers and experts on trafficking in persons and representatives of UNODC field offices in Colombia, Mexico and for Brazil and the Southern Cone. The meeting is being held at the HQ of the Economic Comission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in Santiago, Chile,

In this second edition of the Summit prosecutors will try to establish strategies to combat trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants through the strengthening of international cooperation and the implementation of more effective international prosecution and protection measures for victims of human trafficking destined to labor and sexual exploitation or organ removal, as well as victims of smuggling of migrants.

Due to the complexity of these crimes, which combine an illicit market with legitimate scenarios, it is very difficult to measure its magnitude. Currently it is estimated that at least 2.5 million people worldwide are victims of trafficking in persons. Nevertheless, it is estimated that for every identified victim of human trafficking, there are at least 20 other unidentified.

According to the UNODC Regional Representative for Brazil and Southern Cone, Bo Mathiasen, countries need to observe and implement the recommendations of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, better known as the Palermo Convention, and its protocols against trafficking in persons and against the smuggling of immigrants. "The Convention sets out three key words to combat transnational organized crime: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution. However, for these words to become a reality it is essential that countries work on adapting and implementing its national legislations, ensuring effectiveness in protecting victims and prosecuting offenders", Bo Mathiasen.

At the opening of the Summit, the attorney general of Chile, Sabas Chahuán, reaffirmed the commitment of the Office in combating trafficking in persons. "Trafficking in persons is a modern form of slavery that can not be tolerated by any society. The Public Ministry of Chile will make every national and international effort to combat this crime", said Chahuán.

During the meeting, prosecutors must coordinate efforts for the prosecution of human trafficking. One of the main outcomes of the Summit is an action and cooperation protocol for cases involving human trafficking in the region.

The Summit, organized by the Attorney General of Chile, the Latin American Association of Public Prosecutors (AIAMP) and the Meeting of Mercosur Prosecutors (REMPM) is sponsored by UNODC, through the Global Project for the implementation of the Protocols against the trafficking in persons and the one against the smuggling of migrants, conducted in partnership with the European Union.

The International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the German Cooperation Agency (GTZ), the Ibero American Network of Judicial Cooperation (IberRed), the United States and  Carabineros de Chile also contributed in organizing the event.

More information:

Andrea Catta Preta

Communications Assistant - UNODC

Chile Tel: (56) 9 72541992

Brazil Tel: (55 61) 8118 0910


Related Information

Fact Sheet on Trafficking in Persons (Spanish)

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea

Developing & Strengthening National Legislation: UNODC launches the Model Law against the Smuggling of Migrants

All stories