Panama and Costa Rica walk together against human trafficking

3 September, 2017

Paso Canoas, Costa Rica. July 28, 2017 - Trafficking in persons is a crime that globally affects millions of people and it is important everybody is aware of it. That’s why, for the fifth consecutive year, the Binational Walk against Human Trafficking took place between Costa Rica and Panama. The activity is organized by the Permanent Commission for the Protection and Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants (COPPAMI in Spanish) with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as part of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons which is held every year on July 30.

"At IOM, we believe that migration processes are best managed when countries collaborate with each other," said Roeland de Wilde, IOM's Chief of Mission in Costa Rica.

The itinerary was a kilometer under a blazing sun between Panama and Costa Rica.  About 1,000 people – boys and girls accompanied by their parents, school children with drums and sticks, members of the Panamanian and Costa Rican police forces, and representatives of organizations from both nations that monitor migrants’ human rights –raised their voices to raise awareness about the crime of trafficking in persons and to draw the attention of residents in the border zone to the issue.

In a formal ceremony at the hosting Costa Rican school during which the establishment’s director gave pertinent remarks, IOM´s Chief of Mission in Panama, Santiago Paz, stated: "Trafficking in persons is a real problem and together we must fight it."


The day’s activity culminated with the presentation of the Nido de las Artes de Panamá theatre group as part of the Community Strategy of InformArte en Movimiento, showcasing some human trafficking methods and how traffickers use for instance deception to violate the human rights of their victims.

"The play skillfully reflects some of the situations migrants should avoid in order not to become victims of trafficking – don’t believe in promises that sound too wonderful and too easy," said Victor Gonzalez, representative of COPPAMI.

The activity was organized with the support of the IOM´s Mesoamerica Program and funded by the Office of Population, Refugees and Migration of the Department of State of the United States, which since 2014 has raised awareness on human trafficking and the risks of irregular migration to about 15,000 people through trainings and information campaigns.

From the mid-1990s to 2017, IOM has assisted some 90,000 trafficked persons around the world – a number that reflects the magnitude of this crime.