Latin American and Caribbean experts at a three-day conference organized by the United Nations have called on governments to provide victims of human trafficking networks who are willing to testify with special protection, rather than immediately sending them back to their countries of origin.
The experts, at a regional conference in Bogotá, Colombia, jointly organized by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Embassy of Sweden and ending last Friday, stressed that human trafficking was an issue of growing concern in Latin America, with numerous networks operating to smuggle migrants within the region and into North America, Europe and Asia.
UNODC said trafficking in persons in Colombia and in Latin America was on the rise. Indicators show that other forms of transnational organized crime such as drugs and arms trafficking as well as money laundering were related to and increased this type of crime, it added.
The modalities and purposes of human trafficking differ within the region, UNODC said. Colombia is mostly affected by sexual exploitation and Bolivia, by forced labour.