Brasilia October 28th. Human trafficking can be particularly complex to investigate and prosecute. A major challenge arises from the fact that a significant number of human trafficking cases occur transnationally, involving multiple jurisdictions in which suspects, victims, witnesses, and evidence may be located in different places. According to the UNODC Global Report 2018 on Trafficking in Persons, in South America 93% of the victims of human trafficking are identified in other countries of the sub-region. The Report highlights that the routes identified are limited in terms of geographical scope between neighboring countries.
For this reason, the creation of Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) becomes relevant in those places where borders are shared, because they provide authorities of the participating countries with benefits such as the establishment of faster communication mechanisms and special procedures for the validity of evidence in specific cases. Recently, in October 2020, the Federal Public Ministry of Brazil and the Public Ministry of Paraguay signed an agreement on the implementation of a JIT with the objective of investigating crimes of human trafficking, especially in the border region. Brazil and Paraguay share borders that include areas with large flows of people, goods and services (for example, Foz do Iguaçu - Ciudad del Este, Ponta Porã - Pedro Juan Caballero). In these places, transnational crime is rapidly developing and internalizing, acquiring new facets that translate into major challenges for criminal justice in both countries.
In order to advance in the necessary coordination between the Federal Public Ministry of Brazil and the Public Ministry of Paraguay with the support of UNODC under the TRACK4TIP initiative and the technical and financial assistance of the Department of State of the United States, facilitated the development of a bilateral meeting with the following objective:
Hindenburg Chateaubriand Filho, Deputy Attorney General of the Republic and Secretary of International Cooperation of the Federal Public Ministry of Brazil and Manuel Doldan, Head of Cooperation of the Public Ministry of Paraguay welcomed the meeting, laying the foundations of the importance for both countries of using JITs as a regional support tool and as a useful and instrument in the fight and prevention of this crime.
During the presentations, Antonio Segovia, Prosecutor, Director of the International Cooperation and Extraditions Unit (UCIEX), National Prosecutor's Office of Chile and Marcelo Colombo - Chief Prosecutor of the Office of the Attorney General against Trafficking and Exploitation in Argentina and Representative of the Ibero-American Network of Prosecutors against Trafficking and Smuggling REDTRAM, presented the challenges of incorporating JITs in the fight against trafficking and stated the importance of resorting to regional agreements and international instruments against transnational organized crime for the promotion and implementation of similar agreements to the one signed between Brazil and Paraguay to be applied in other countries of the region. U.S. government officials from the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office), U.S. Embassy Brasilia, U.S. Embassy Asunción, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Countering Human Trafficking shared models on operationalizing joint investigation teams and the importance of leveraging a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach to combat trafficking in persons in the Western Hemisphere.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) provides technical assistance to Member States to strengthen their capacities to combat transnational organized crime, including trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, in its role as Technical Secretariat of the Conventions and Protocols on this matter.
TRACK4TIP is a three-year initiative (2019-2022), implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), with the support of the United States Department of State (TIP Office).
The project benefits eight countries in South America and the Caribbean with national and regional actions in Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Curaçao, and Aruba.
The general objective of the project is to improve the regional criminal justice response to human trafficking in the migratory flows of the beneficiary countries through a multidisciplinary and victim-centered approach, with actions at the regional and national levels to identify victims, increase prosecutions, and prevent the crime.
"This press release was made possible through support provided by the United States Department of State, under the terms of Award No. SSJTIP19CA0027. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of State."