IOM, Partners Organize First Human Trafficking Forum on Peru-Ecuador Border
Peru - The first meeting of the Permanent Forum on Trafficking in Persons in the Peru-Ecuador Border region took place this week in the city of Jaen in the northern region of Cajamarca in Peru.
The Forum’s objective was to facilitate dialogue and exchange of experiences between government authorities and civil society organizations to combat trafficking in persons along the border between Peru and Ecuador.
The event was co-organized by IOM Peru, the Peru Chapter of the Binational Plan for the Development of the Border Region of Peru-Ecuador, the UN Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).
According to statistics from the Peruvian Public Ministry’s Observatory, of the 1,144 possible cases of trafficking in persons identified in Peru in 2016, 12.6 percent were from the border regions with Ecuador. The Peruvian northern border is also third in terms of migration flows in the country, after the International Airport of Jorge Chávez in Lima and the border crossing of Santa Rosa between Peru and Chile.
Statistics from the National Migration Superintendent show that border crossings through the most important posts along the Peru-Ecuador border have increased over 50 percent between 2011 and 2015. A recent study by the NGO CHS Alternativo on trafficking routes in Peru also identified the border regions of Piura and Tumbes as destinations of victims of sexual exploitation.
“The purpose of this Forum is to sensitize people to this crime, which deeply affects our children and adolescents, as well as to articulate efforts by government entities and civil society organizations to combat trafficking with realistic and sustainable commitments,” said Ambassador Harold Forsyth, Executive Director of the Peru Chapter of the Binational Plan for the Development of the Peru-Ecuador Border Region.
Four representative projects were presented at the Forum to promote discussions between participants and encourage replication in the region. The first project focuses specifically on prevention of trafficking. The Ramon Castilla platform (ramoncastilla.pe), created by the Ministry of Interior and IOM Peru was developed to disseminate information, especially to young people, about the risks of trafficking in persons.
Regarding persecution, an updated version was presented of the Training Manual for the Judiciary in the Investigation and Processing of Cases of Trafficking in Persons, developed by IOM Peru and the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. The manual is available online and has been used by the Ministry of Interior and the Public Ministry to train police and prosecutors in remote areas of Peru.
The Ministry of Justice also presented its experience providing technical assistance to different regions of Peru to promote the creation or strengthening of regional action plans to combat trafficking.
Additionally, the NGO CHS Alternativo presented its project to provide assistance to victims, through which it provided assistance to 300 victims of trafficking in eight regions of Peru, two of which are along the northern border with Ecuador.
During the Forum, IOM Peru’s Chief of Mission, Jose Ivan Davalos said: “These inter-institutional exchange mechanisms are extremely important and necessary to ensure we successfully combat trafficking in persons in Peru and its neighbouring countries. Trafficking in persons happens in every region of Peru and traffickers often rely on the displacement of their victims to coerce them.”