February 1, 2021, Under the auspices of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons of the United States Department of State (TIP Office) in coordination with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a webinar was held to strengthen cooperation between criminal justice authorities in cases of trafficking in persons, led by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the TRACK4TIP initiative. This seminar was part of a series of two sessions, the first one given by the United States Department of Justice and directed to police units, prosecutors and judges from the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
Andin Bikker, the current Minister of Justice of Aruba, opened the seminar by stressing the importance of international cooperation between countries, specifically between the justice entities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United States.
Maarten Smidts, Deputy Head of the Law Enforcement Department in the Netherlands Ministry of Justice and Security, and José Vila del Castillo, Chief Representative of UNODC for Central America and the Caribbean also contributed opening commentary before yielding to trainers. Carlos Perez, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Section of UNODC, presented the mandate of UNODC under the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons, as a preamble to the presentation of the regional programs implemented by the office, including TRACK4TIP.
On behalf of the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors AIAMP, Antonio Segovia, Head of the International Cooperation Unit of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Chile, shared with us the challenges and achievements of international and inter-institutional cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean, emphasizing the importance of teamwork between national authorities of countries in the same region. Marcelo Colombo, Head of the Unit against Trafficking and Exploitation of Persons of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Argentina, detailed the work carried out by the REDTRAM Ibero-American Network of Prosecutors Specialized in Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants, highlighting among the network's commitments the creation of a task force for the investigation of trafficking cases in the context of migratory flows. Lissette Antonieta Reyes, UNODC National Project Officer for the Dominican Republic, presented the TRACK4TIP project, detailing its work, implementation and development in the 8 countries of the region where it is being carried out.
Pascale Reinke-Schreiber from the Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants Section of UNODC presented the different UNODC tools and publications available for criminal justice professionals, which cover different topics and case models that can be used by justice managers in different countries.
Ms. Silke Albert, Coordinator of the Global Programs on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants of UNODC and Ms. Laura Rundlet, Acting Deputy Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons of the United States Department of State, closed the seminar, reflecting on the importance of international collaboration and of law enforcement approaches that are trauma-informed and victim-centered as we work to improve our collective efforts to fight human trafficking. This seminar highlighted the importance of international cooperation and the unification of efforts between the authorities in the Caribbean and other countries in the region and within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in order to curb activities such as trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
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."