MANAGUA – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, or UNODC, appealed Tuesday for awareness on the seriousness and universality of human trafficking crimes.
UNODC described human trafficking, from Latin America to United States, as a “business” with an estimated annual turnover of $6.6 billion.
It is “essential to create consciousness regarding the existence, seriousness and universality of the crime of human trafficking,” said UNODC’s International Cooperation Regional Officer Mariana Alegret at the inauguration of a human trafficking workshop, sponsored by the European Union, in Nicaragua.
Human trafficking has become one of the most common crimes in Latin America, says UNODC, as an increasing number of people try to enter the United States illegally.
UNODC sources told EFE that in Mexico and Central America there is “high mobility both inside and outside the region,” with people crossing borders on buses, trucks, trains or on foot, and more recently by sea.
Human trafficking also exposes victims to extortion, violence, migrant smuggling and human rights violation, Alegret told EFE.
Alegret explained UNODC’s objective of highlighting this phenomenon, understanding it, finding ways to combat it and getting different authorities to coordinate and design mechanisms for an effective response regarding human rights of the victims of trafficking, she said.
The project against illegal trafficking of migrants in Central America and Mexico has a total budget of around $1.92 million.
The project also aims to train officials, responsible for implementation of the law, migration, customs and border control, to effectively combat illegal migrant traffic.