UN crime fighting agency boosts anti-trafficking efforts in Central America

19 September 2008 – The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has strengthened its efforts to tackle human trafficking in Central America by bolstering national prosecutors’ capacities and improving regional cooperation in law enforcement.

UNODC, in concert with the UN Latin America Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, is assessing strengths and weaknesses of public prosecutors and police to create training courses to be held in 2009-2010 at the national and regional levels.

This scheme seeks to boost law enforcement agencies’ investigative and prosecutorial capacities and aims to increase collaboration in Central America on investigations, witness protection programmes and investigative techniques.

“We need to make this a long-term, sustainable programme capable of supporting not only public prosecution and police services in the fight against trafficking, but also other justice operators, such as the judiciary and border control authorities,” said Felipe De La Torre, a crime prevention expert with UNODC based in Mexico City.

“Prosecutors, especially in rural areas, still conduct investigations from a very local perspective, paying no attention to elements that can lead to cases of a transnational nature.”

He noted that strong domestic and regional stewardship is crucial in effectively curbing human trafficking, lauding the commitment demonstrated by Central American prosecutors and attorneys-general.

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