U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Colombia

Colombia (Tier 1)

Colombia is a source of women and children who are trafficked for sexual exploitation and, to a lesser degree, men for forced labor. There is also internal trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced conscription in terrorist groups. Women and children are trafficked to Europe, especially Spain and Japan, and to a lesser extent, the United States.

The government meets the minimum standards in the area of law enforcement, protection for victims and prevention of trafficking, despite resource constraints and an inefficient judicial system. Colombia passed an anti-trafficking in persons law in 2001. Police actively investigate trafficking offenses and a limited number of traffickers have been prosecuted. Inadequate witness protection hinders judicial proceedings, however. Colombia cooperates with foreign counterparts on investigations and has successfully freed hundreds of victims in solo and joint operations. To protect Colombian trafficking victims abroad, foreign missions provide legal aid and social workers. A standard complaint form is being developed for victims abroad to report the crime. The government has received training from, and collaborates with, an international organization to repatriate Colombian victims, although the services available to repatriated and internal trafficking victims are limited. With respect to prevention, the government, in collaboration with NGOs, is using international assistance to conduct a public awareness campaign and train police to combat trafficking and aid victims. The Ministry of Justice worked with a major network to incorporate a trafficking story line into several episodes of a popular soap opera.


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