The expansion of drug trafficking networks in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean generates connections with other criminal phenomena, such as human trafficking.
The complexity of these situations makes it necessary to rethink the anti-drug trafficking strategies developed to date, paying differentiated attention to this type of interconnected crime.
In this context of searching for new solutions to complex problems, on October 19 and 20, the initiative ‘The gender dimension in the relationship between drug trafficking and trafficking in persons’ was launched in Buenos Aires (Argentina), promoted by COPOLAD in the framework of the Program’s alliance with three networks of the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutors (AIAMP): The Ibero-American Network of Specialized Prosecutors against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (REDTRAM), the Network of Anti-Drug Prosecutors of Ibero-America (RFAI) and the Specialized Gender Network (REG). The initiative is led by the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Public Policy and Administration (FIIAPP) and the International Italo-Latin American Organization (IILA), in close collaboration with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Argentina.
A first workshop on the subject was held at the facilities of the latter institution. The activity was attended, on the Argentine side, by personnel from the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office and the Ministry of Security, as well as representatives of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Paraguay, the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Brazil and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Spain.
The meetings were also attended by Eran Nagan, Head of the Political Section of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Argentina, and members of three EU programs combating organized crime in the region: EUROFRONT, the European Support Program for the Bolivian Special Anti-Drug Forces and the EU Support Program for the Fight against Drugs and Organized Crime in Peru.
Throughout the working sessions, new preventive and criminal treatment approaches for women and people from LGTBI+ groups used by drug traffickers in the production, transport or microtrafficking of drugs, through their recruitment by labor trafficking networks or for sexual exploitation purposes, which take advantage of their situation of extreme vulnerability, were addressed. Some of the aspects highlighted in the different working groups were:
- The fight against human trafficking and drug trafficking requires a comprehensive and gender-sensitive approach.
- It is important to strategically target criminal prosecution of criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking and human trafficking.
- The principle of ‘non-criminalization’ should be analyzed in cases of women and LGTBI+ persons who transport drugs or are involved in production or micro-trafficking because they are victims of human trafficking. E.g. “ingested” people (term used for people who carry capsules containing narcotic drugs inside their bodies with serious health risks).
- It is necessary to strengthen articulated and holistic strategies for crime detection and investigation, including the construction of risk alerts or ‘iuris tantum’ presumption.
It is necessary to train multidisciplinary teams to apply a differential approach to gender and human rights at an early stage.
- It is necessary to promote joint national and international multidisciplinary investigation teams.
Measures for the protection and care of victims should be strengthened.
Based on the inputs obtained at the workshop and this initial diagnostic work, standards and best practices in this area will be identified in the coming weeks to provide general guidelines for action to the prosecutors’ offices that are part of AIAMP. Finally, the initiative contemplates the beginning of experiences in the implementation of these guidelines in concrete interventions promoted by the Public Prosecutor’s Offices of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.