Region urged to redouble efforts to combat Trafficking in Persons
BRASILIA, Dec. 7, CMC – The Fourth Meeting of National Authorities of the Americas on Trafficking in Persons has called on the Caribbean and all member-countries of the Organisation of American States (OAS), to redouble efforts to combat the scourge.
The OAS, which convened the workshop, said 1.8 million people in the hemisphere are affected by Trafficking in Person.
The “Inter-American Declaration to Address Trafficking in Persons” or “Declaration of Brasilia” released at the end of the meeting on Friday, condemns “trafficking in persons in all its forms in the hemisphere as a criminal offense that violates human rights and, in particular, impinges on the liberty, physical integrity, health, and dignity of its victims and their families, and harms the most vulnerable sectors of our societies.”
The document also highlights the need to “prevent trafficking in persons by designing, improving, and implementing public policies that address social, economic, cultural, security, and migration-related variables that adversely affect women, minors and, indeed, all vulnerable sectors of society”.
During the two day meeting, the 34 member states of the OAS also approved the “Second Work Plan to combat the trafficking of persons in the Western Hemisphere” 2015-2018, which includes among its main objectives, the promotion of the “full implementation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the protocol prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children as well as other relevant international instruments that address the trafficking of persons” as well as other relevant international instruments that address the trafficking of persons.”
The contents of the Work Plan – which was produced based on the conclusions and recommendations of the three previous meetings, divide the suggested activities between the member states and delivers mandates to the OAS General Secretariat in the areas of prevention, protection of victims of trafficking and penal action against criminals.
The approved document establishes that “the extent to which member states implement part or all of this work plan is at the discretion of each member state, in accordance with its legal system”.
Head of the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security of the OAS, Adam Blackwell, said 83 per cent of the member countries of the OAS have specific laws against trafficking of persons.
He noted that trafficking does not only consist of sexual exploitation, but that many items of legislation “contemplate other manifestations of trafficking,” such as labor exploitation, organ extraction, domestic servitude, forced marriages and the illegal adoption of children for exploitation.
Paul Abram, the National Secretary for Justice of Brazil, who presided over the meeting, said the fight against trafficking should take into account the association of criminal groups with the private sector.
At the same time, he said there should be “a commitment not to deport the victims and a recognition of the need to avoid building restrictive migratory policies”.
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