With a high number of migrants passing through the country annually, Colombia has been declared a “passage country” for victims of human trafficking looking to reach the United States, Colombian media reported on Monday.
The director of Colombia’s National Migration agency, Sergio Bueno, announced that Colombia has become a route for migratory flows of people from Asia and Africa, as well as Cuba, attempting to enter the United States or Canada.
Bueno claimed that the Colombian government identified close to 1,800 supposed victims of illegal trafficking last year, according to Colombia’s Semana news magazine.
Other organizations such as Insight Crime and Human Trafficking Search report much higher numbers of victims, detailing a marked influx of trafficking from Colombia into neighboring countries, especially Ecuador where prostitution is legal and women are sold into the commercial sex industry.
Bueno emphasised the “fundamental” importance of international collaboration to target this issue. In this vein, the Spanish and Colombian governments are working together to create a comprehensive training course in the field of migration and border regulation, which will be hosted by the National School of Policing in Avila, Spain. The course will focus on illegal trafficking and human mistreatment, according to Semana.
Twenty Colombian officials from the Administrative Unit of Colombian Migration will take part in the training. This organization was set up just over two years ago with the aim of offering a security service to aid migration control in the country. Currently, Colombia has 35 points of migration control around the country.
Bueno emphasized that Colombia is committed to strengthening its border control to better manage migratory flows and to protect the human rights of those crossing borders into the country.
He also highlighted the importance of the Latin American Migration Authorities Network, which was created after the rise in migratory flow, and will meet this year in Argentina, reported Semana.
On Sunday, the Colombian Navy apprehended 24 illegal immigrants on their way to the US from places such as Africa, Bangladesh, and Nepal after smugglers had abandoned them on a beach in Colombia’s northwestern state of Choco.
- “Colombia se ha convertido en pais de paso” (La Semana)
- The Sex Trafficking of Colombian Women (Human Trafficking Search)
- Report Reveals Extent of Human Trafficking in Colombia (Insight Crime)