Judges and attorneys of Guatemala and Mexico built their capacities on trafficking in persons

9 February, 2018

Judges and attorneys of Mexico and Guatemala trained on a variety of competences and interview techniques for cases of victims of trafficking in persons

 

Mexico. With the support of the United Nations Agency for Migration (IOM), through the Mesoamerica Program, the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training of the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States trained judges and attorneys of Mexico and Guatemala on a variety of competences and interview techniques for cases of victims of trafficking in persons in the framework of the new system of criminal justice of Mexico.

The workshop covered the topic of interviews and the preparation of testimonies of victims of high risk for oral trials, including victims of human trafficking. The workshop took place between the 5th and 7th of December of 2017, in Puebla, Mexico. The participants included judges and attorneys from the states of Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chihuahua, Ciudad de México, Colima, Durango, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas y Zacatecas, as well as judges of the Judicial System of Guatemala.

IOM complemented the workshop by sharing a series of tools for the adequate assistance of victims of trafficking in persons: interview techniques, guidelines to operate shelters, inter-institutional coordination for the assistance of victims, and International Law related to trafficking in persons.

The new criminal justice system of Mexico represents a shift from a files methodology to one of audiences. According to Bertha Alcalde, professor of International Rights in the University of New York, this means that ´´judges don’t make their decisions based on a file, but base their decisions on what is presented by both parties during the audience´´.

In the framework of these changes, it is of paramount importance to develop the capacities of states under a framework of  protection of the rights of victims according to the International Framework for Action To Implement the Trafficking in Persons Protocol, which confirms that ´´Although most countries have adopted a specific offence on trafficking in persons, there is still a diversity of interpretations of and approaches to the Protocol and the definition of trafficking in persons used by Member States. Some only acknowledge certain forms of exploitation or certain categories of victims or criminals, thereby limiting the scope and effectiveness of the response and hindering international cooperation among countries´´.

The activity was organized by the Office Of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training of the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States, in collaboration with the General Attorney of the Republic of Mexico (PGR), the Worker Justice Center of New York and IOM. The OPDAT and IOM Mexico, through the Mesoamerica Program, have joined efforts to include the participation of IOM within the capacity-building program of the Embassy of the United States in Mexico.