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Human trafficking is a threat to human rights and national security.

Trafficking in persons is a crime that occurs silently, but which seriously harms human rights. human rights and even undermines national security, as this crime often involves several states. Despite having significant consequences, it was not until 2000 that the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children was published as an international attempt of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime to stop the occurrence of trafficking in persons.

In the United Nations Human Rights and Trafficking in Persons Protocoldefines this crime as "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation". 

Forms of exploitation mainly include prostitution or sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, slavery, forced labor, forced labor or services, and sexual exploitation.The text also points out that there are three key elements to identify a situation of trafficking in persons: recruitment, threat and exploitation. The text also points out that there are three key elements to identify a situation of trafficking in persons: recruitment, threat and exploitation. In the case of minors under 18 years of age, trafficking can be typified only with the recruitment and exploitation, since the victim could have access without being threatened due to lack of knowledge, links with criminals, among other reasons.

For this reason, it is a complex crime with many possible forms, and in order to better understand it and act in favor of its prevention, the following basic characteristics have been determined:

  • It affects women, men and children.
  • It comprises a long series of exploitation practices.
  • It can be done without crossing an international border.
  • It is different from illegal immigrant smuggling because in smuggling the motive is financial gain rather than exploitation or abuse.

The human rights harmed in human trafficking are basically the following:

  • The right to life
  • The right to liberty and security
  • The right not to be held in slavery, servitude, forced labor or bonded labor.
  • The right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.
  • The right to be free from gender-based violence.
  • The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
  • The right to just and satisfactory working conditions

The International Labor Organization defines in its Convention on Forced and Compulsory Labor as prohibiting forced labor defined as any activity or service demanded of an individual under threat of penalty or punishment. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child are the legal instruments on human rights that refer to human trafficking.

In the Venezuelan legal framework, it is included in the Venezuelan Organic Law against Organized Crime and Terrorist Financing.Article 41 of the Criminal Code, which explores in Article 41 the trafficking in persons. It determines the high penalty of 20 to 25 years in prison and the cancellation of compensation for expenses to the victim, to those who promote, favor, facilitate or execute the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or reception of persons through the threat, force, coercion, abduction, deception, abuse of power, situations of vulnerability, granting, receiving or other fraudulent means of payments or benefits. If the affected person is a child or adolescent, the penalty shall be 25 to 30 years in prison.

Many of the criminal organizations, such as the Triad, considered to be the largest in the world in human trafficking, takes advantage of the economic difficulties of the victims for the occurrence of this crimeThe perpetrators take advantage of the circumstances of vulnerability. Poverty and limitations to access basic conditions of education, health, food, etc., are the perfect scenario for many people to feel forced to give their consent to activities and situations of exploitation and human trafficking.

2020 Trafficking in Persons Reportpublished on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela, places the country in category 3. The text reads that Venezuela "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the eradication of trafficking in persons.". 

Last year, in 2019, the Venezuelan government created a specialized prosecutor's office to oversee human trafficking investigations and prosecutions.. Through this figure, a judicial process was initiated for possible victims of this crime who disappeared at sea. According to the report, the results were not reported. Similarly, the publication notes that the authorities did not focus their efforts on stopping the forced recruitment of Venezuelan children by illegal armed groups in Colombia.

At Alan Aldana & Abogados, we applaud the efforts of State institutions and members of law enforcement agencies, as well as INTERPOL, who are especially dedicated to combating these criminal organizations; additionally, through our Foundation, we provide victims with legal advice and judicial representation.

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