IOM in co-ordination with SICA and INTERPOL strengthens the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants

El Salvador
5 September, 2019



San Salvador, El Salvador. - The International Organization for Migration (IOM), together with the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) supports the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants through Operation ITZEL, in which 10 countries in the region participate.

On August 20-22, 2019, the meeting of the Specialized Technical Subcommission against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants of the Commission of Chiefs and Directors of Police of Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Colombia (CJDPCAMCC) was held. At this meeting, the evaluation of Operation ROCA III and the planning of ITZEL were carried out.

The inaugural event was chaired by Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean; Pierre-Yves Baulain, Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation in El Salvador; and Walter Lazo Merino, Head of INTERPOL's Regional Office for Central America; CJDPCAMCC Regional Secretary, Aldrin Enrique Laínez; the representative of the Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Henry Flores; the Head of Security FES, Manuel Fernández; the Deputy Director of the National Civil Police of El Salvador, Julio César Santana and the Secretary General of SICA, Vinicio Cerezo. 

Pisani expressed concern about the alarming numbers of victims of human trafficking, arguing that in Central America and the Caribbean 80% of the victims of this crime between 2014 and 2017 were women and girls. Most of them were victims of sexual exploitation. "Our region presented the rate of victims of human trafficking per 100,000 highest in the world in 2014 and 2017. Also, the increase in the irregular flow in the region increases cases of smuggling of migrants, and is correlated with the crime of trafficking, as traffickers take advantage of the vulnerable condition of people who are exposed to various risks," he said.

This cooperation is carried out with the technical and financial support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), within the framework of the Western Hemisphere Program, financed by the U.S. Department of State; and the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System through the project "Cooperation in Criminal Investigation in Central America to Combat Crime and Drug Trafficking at the International Level" AC1/ICRIME, financed by the European Union and the Kingdom of Spain.