Vienna (Austria), 14 December 2020 — As a great leap towards Fostering Cooperation between the Public and Private Sectors to Counter Trafficking in Persons, UNODC gathered over 60 participants, whose mission is to address human trafficking in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, for a two-day Regional Expert Group Meeting (REGM) on 9-10 December 2020. The gathering was made possible with the support of the Government of Germany.
The meeting brought together speakers and participants from regional governments, the private sector, NGOs and academia. Among them were representatives from the Government of Mexico, Microsoft, FINTRAC, Scotia Bank, as well as Consejo Ciudadano, Truckers against Trafficking, Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association, the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force. Participants shared their experiences and expertise in addressing Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
On the first day, Kristian Hölge from UNODC Mexico affirmed that, “all together we can start ending this crime that is happening right in front of us.”
Félix Santana, Technical Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Commission to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Crimes Related to TIP, Ministry of Interior, Government of Mexico explained that, “one of the main actions to face these complex crime phenomena is the alliance with other actors and CSOs, but particularly with the private sector and the community in general. It is necessary to share promising practices, information, experiences, and resources”.
Barry MacKillop, Deputy Director of Intelligence at FINTRAC, and Stuart Davis, Executive Vice President of Scotia Bank (Canada), both shared their best practices on the use of financial intelligence to identify human trafficking. Esther Goetsch, Director of Coalitions Build, Truckers against Trafficking, explained how professional truck drivers, are playing an important role as eyes and ears on the road in identifying victims of trafficking.
On the second day, participants were divided into three groups focused on supply chains, the technology sector and financial institutions. They reflected on the challenges and best practices of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to address trafficking within their group and proposed recommendations on the way forward.
Some recommendations included:
Enhancing awareness around human trafficking, including through the use of technology.
This second REGM served as a platform for experts to analyse and explore relevant examples of PPPs that could help to address human trafficking in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. It allowed participants to compare practices and identify lessons learnt from private sector experiences on integrating anti-trafficking methods in their business models. The meeting served to successfully identify effective strategies for the region.
Two additional meetings, planned in 2021, will focus on PPPs to counter trafficking in persons in Asia and thereafter, in Africa.
In 2021, the UNODC will also launch and disseminate a compendium that will facilitate successful PPPs to address TIP, based on a range of practices from across the world and reflecting on lessons learned in recent years by a variety of stakeholders.
The next Regional Expert Group Meeting (REGM) on ‘Fostering Cooperation between the Public and Private Sector to Counter Trafficking in Persons in Asia-Pacific’ will take place on 24 and 25 March 2021. More details here.
Download the report of REGM here.