South American Consular Officers Trained on Human Trafficking

Capacity Building, Integrated Border Management

Buenos Aires – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Institute for Public Policies in Human Rights (IPPDH by its Spanish Acronym) of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) launched a virtual course on human trafficking for 40 South American consular officers.

The course, which will last until 3 July 2018, seeks to train government officials in early detection tactics and assistance to victims of human trafficking, as well as develop cross-border coordination mechanisms to support their nationals who have been victims of this crime.

It counts on the participation of consular representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

According to information collected by IOM in the South America region, human trafficking persists. Increased instances of trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation in the textile industry and domestic employment have been reported.

Despite progress in legislation and the institutional framework for dealing with this crime, improving the mechanisms for detecting cases is still a challenge. Sometimes human trafficking is confused with other related crimes, such as the smuggling of migrants or crimes against the rights of workers. Consular officers’ role in identifying victims of trafficking by is key to addressing this challenge.

"A successful intervention in a case of human trafficking begins with proper attention from the consular protection staff, who provides support, knows who to refer to and, if necessary, coordinates the return to the country of origin in a dignified and prompt manner," explained Agueda Marín, Senior Regional Specialist in Assistance and Protection of Migrants for IOM in South America.

"Providing training in prevention, identification and assistance to victims of trafficking to consular officers is key for the interaction between countries," said Javier Palummo, Director of Research and Information Management of the IPPDH.

This training is the result of a request for cooperation between the IPPDH and IOM in the framework of the 23rd Meeting of the Working Group of Consular and Legal Matters of the Consultation and Political Coordination Forum of MERCOSUR and Associated States.

For more information, please contact Juliana Quintero at the IOM Regional Office in Buenos Aires, Tel. + 54 11 48133330, Email: