Supporting victims, strengthening states: GLO.ACT supports regional network of prosecutors


Buenos Aires, Argentina 11 December 2018 - As one example of its work in 2018 in the area of countering transnational organized crime, UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT), has carried out technical cooperation projects to combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM).

 TIP and SOM are global concerns, with the former affecting virtually every country in the world as a place of origin, transit or destination, and the latter being perpetrated by migrant smugglers who generally face a low risk of detection and punishment. Due to the transnational nature of these crimes, governments are challenged by the involvement of many different jurisdictions, legislations, legal issues and sometimes different approaches in tackling those crimes. 

UNODC supports governments to cooperate between different jurisdictions and helps them develop combined responses to combat the global challenges posed by transnational organized crime in accordance with its mandates and international standards.

 

Through GLO.ACT, UNODC has made supporting prosecutorial networks a key priority in all the 13 target countries it covers. A particularly successful example of such networks is the Ibero-American network of specialized prosecutors against Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) recently named REDTRAM. Operational since 2011, this network has over time and with UNODC's substantive and technical support and advice been transformed into a platform of cooperation that allows for active exchanges on regional human trafficking and migrant smuggling trends and provides channels of cooperation on actual cases.

In September 2018, UNODC contributed to the fourth meeting of REDTRAM, in which the network decided to develop joint investigation teams for specific cases of human trafficking and migrant smuggling in the region that will become operational in 2019. It also agreed to set up a technical secretariat for REDTRAM located in the Public Ministry of Argentina, to promote communication and process requests for cooperation of its members. In 2017, 17 prosecutors participating in one of the meetings organized by GLO.ACT signed a declaration and guidelines of action addressing these issues. This was taken a step further with the network developing an operational protocol to improve TIP investigations and prosecutions based on a victim-centred approach. Most notably, for the first time, this protocol included a component that addresses migrant smuggling. A key highlight was the adoption of the protocol during the General Assembly of the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors (AIAMP) at the end of 2017.

The above operational arrangement resulted in strengthened international and regional cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean for greater justice for the victims and less impunity for traffickers and perpetrators. This result is evidenced by prosecutors of 14 countries in the region that attended the meeting, having confirmed that REDTRAM has enabled them to exchange information on concrete human trafficking and migrant smuggling cases and that such cooperation has helped them to advance investigations in their countries.

This is also evidenced by new investigations concerning trafficking and smuggling cases initiated by members of REDTRAM. Moreover, due to the work of the network the number of foreign TIP victims being identified, assisted and protected by countries in the same region is on the increase.                   

Supporting the establishment and development of regional, prosecutorial networks in Latin America and the Caribbean on TIP and SOM is a firm step in the right direction as the results achieved by REDTRAM show. The REDTRAM model could be adapted and replicated in other regions, thus increasing regional and international cooperation in enhancing justice for victims and reducing impunity for traffickers. 

                            

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine.  GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.