4 August 2011 - In a move to toughen the law against human trafficking in Mexico, President Felipe Calderón recently signed a draft amendment to three articles of the country's Political Constitution. During a ceremony held at the official residence, President Calderón noted that the constitutional amendments would provide more protection for victims of human trafficking and afford Mexico better tools and laws to counter that crime in an efficient and coordinated manner. One such amendment will protect the identity of human trafficking victims and guarantee their personal security, particularly when testifying in a trial. Further measures include better social reintegration of survivors. Another amendment classifies human trafficking as an offence for which prisoners are not eligible for parole.
The legislative branch will eventually issue a new general law that will enable human trafficking to be dealt with jointly at the federal, state and municipal levels. President Calderón also stated that "as a result of this new law, we will all be obliged to act, and no authority will be allowed to close their eyes to the terrible crime of human trafficking."
The amendment to the Constitution strengthens the efforts already undertaken by the Government of Mexico to fight human trafficking. The President reiterated the commitment of his administration and encouraged initiatives such as the National Programme to Prevent and Sanction Trafficking in Persons and the UNODC awareness-raising Blue Heart Campaign. He also called upon Mexican society to report the crime, saying: "When a Mexican citizen knows of a place where women, migrants, children, young people, or even people with disabilities, are being exploited, they should go to the authorities."
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Secretary of the Interior, José Francisco Blake Mora, referred to the amendment as a commitment to protect the integrity of the country's citizens: "It is urgent that we put an end to the purchasing of people by people, because humans are not for sale."
Felipe De La Torre, the UNODC anti-human-trafficking expert in the region, spoke of the successful alliance with the federal Government to strengthen the actions implemented by the Inter-Secretariat Commission to Prevent and Sanction Human Trafficking. He also announced that, in the coming months, UNODC would collaborate with the Ministry of the Interior to launch a new project to develop a national assessment of human trafficking in Mexico, and discussed the continuing awareness-raising work with respect to the Blue Heart Campaign.
The Mexican Blue Heart Campaign (Campaña Corazón Azul), which was developed in partnership with UNODC in April 2010, calls on all sectors of Mexican society to help mobilize social conscience against what is a crime against human dignity. The campaign aims to raise awareness of human trafficking as a modern form of slavery that exploits millions of people around the world and to prevent more people from becoming victims. A global issue, human trafficking is one of the most lucrative forms of crime after drug and arms trafficking. According to United Nations estimates, more than 2.4 million persons are currently being subjected to sexual or labour exploitation as victims of human trafficking. Victims are also trafficked for the purposes of domestic servitude, the removal of organs and the exploitation of children as beggars or child soldiers. Up to 80 per cent of all human trafficking victims are women and girls. More than 130 countries have reported cases of human trafficking.