As a transnational crime that needs a transnational response, preventing and combating trafficking in persons in Mexico and Central America requires States and the international community to work in a cooperative way to overcome political, legal, institutional, technical, financial and personnel obstacles as identified in UNODC Assessment of National and Regional Capacities to Prosecute Trafficking in Persons in Central America
Mandated to provide technical assistance to Member States in the area of criminal justice, UNODC has identified the investigation phase as the main operational challenge to obtain successful convictions in the area of trafficking in persons in Mexico and Central America. Confusion between trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, weak coordination between prosecution and police services, poor technical standards for the recollection of evidence, lack of case management systems, little exposure to mutual legal assistance tools, and deficiencies concerning the protection of victims and witnesses, stand out as the primary weaknesses of Attorney General Offices and National Police bodies.
In line with UNODC 2008-2011 strategy, and the Global Program against Trafficking in Persons (GPAT), the UNODC regional project against trafficking in persons offers a solid platform for prosecutors and police agents to enhance inter-institutional and international cooperation, establish inter-regional networks and exchange good practices in the investigation of crime.
In order to enhance the harmonization of training methodologies in the field of trafficking in persons, UNODC hosted from 22 to 23 October 2009 in Mexico City the "Second Meeting of Training Directors of Attorney General Offices from Central America." These officials worked on the preparation of technical tools for the next train-the-trainers event, and validated a regional master training plan which is being prepared jointly by UNODC and the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of the Offenders (ILANUD).
Moreover, from the 27 to 29 October in San Jose, Costa Rica, UNODC in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and ILANUD, held the "Second Regional Course on International Penal Cooperation on Trafficking in Persons and Sexual Commercial Exploitation" which provided mutual legal assistance focal points at Central American Attorney General Offices and experts from Colombia, Mexico and INTERPOL the opportunity to exchange experiences in the management of transnational cases.
The involvement of beneficiaries in the elaboration and validation of material is an important crux of this UNODC project, and an innovative approach towards traditional international cooperation schemes. The elaboration of master plans in the areas of training and communication, the regular interaction with project counterparts to develop tailor-made products, and the creation of regional platforms to develop a common language for the investigation of trafficking in persons, are assets provided by UNODC to ensure to the sustainability, institutionalization and continuity of this capacity building process.
Visit the website of the Mexico and Central America Regional Office.
To read about the launch of the Blue Heart campaign in Mexico click here.