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MENTHOR Project gathers inputs to develop an International Standard Tool to strengthen the fight against human trafficking in Honduras

Panama, February 24, 2023. "This workshop helps us to acquire better working tools to train others and it is positive that all of us in the justice system are present because the crime of human trafficking is a very complex issue," said Vanessa Cifuentes, former judge of First Instance of the Specialized Court on Human Trafficking in Guatemala, now Judge of the Seventh Court of Criminal Sentencing. She has more than 15 years of experience in the prosecution of human trafficking cases in Guatemala and participated as a mentor in a workshop convened by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) MENTHOR Project, held on February 23 and 24 in Panama.
This workshop brought together mentors from Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala, who shared their experiences and presented their vision on the profile that a mentor on human trafficking should have in order to develop a mentoring guide that will be used in training schools of the Attorney General's Office, the Judiciary Branch and government agencies that carry out the detection and identification of cases of human trafficking in Honduras.
According to Judge Cifuentes, "the role of the mentors is important to strengthen the tools and to be able to transmit knowledge and good practices to those who will be trained and who are currently in charge of human trafficking cases."
It is worth mentioning that, in order to achieve a comprehensive approach and develop an international standard tool, this group of mentors is made up of officials from the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Judiciary and the Committees and Commissions against Trafficking in Persons from different countries.
Another participant is Henry Madrigal, consultant criminologist in human trafficking with emphasis in criminal investigation, who emphasizes that the interaction between different professionals who see the same subject and have similar experience is of invaluable help to be able to offer an instruction that includes all points of view.
For Madrigal, MENTHOR has brought together "different institutions that seek to improve their work and interact in a comprehensive manner with the victim of the crime and has made it possible to train personnel who are sensitized and can make comprehensive decisions regarding the victim."
Iván Williams Maradiaga, coordinator of the MENTHOR project, adds that, once the inputs from this workshop have been compiled, the objective is to develop a tool so that the MENTHOR program can be replicated in the future throughout Honduras and in other countries in the region that need mentoring on the crime of human trafficking for forced labor, servitude and exploitation in conditions of slavery.
According to information gathered by this program, Honduras continues to be a country of origin, transit and destination for human trafficking in its different manifestations, especially forced labor, servitude and exploitation in conditions of slavery.
According to statistics from the Inter-Institutional Commission against Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons-CICESCT in 2022 about 51 victims were exploited in Honduras in the areas of Atlántida, Choluteca, Colón, Comayagua, Cortés, El Paraíso, Francisco Morazán, Olancho and Yoro.
MENTHOR project contributed to strengthening the skills and knowledge of 121 prosecutors, police investigators and other public officials involved in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking in Honduras at the national and local levels.
This project is carried out with the support of the Department of Public Security of the Organization of American States-OAS.