In the past few years, the Argentine government has ramped up its fight against human trafficking, enacting a number of new policies aimed at eradicating the practice. On July 5th, the US government thus elevated Argentina in its 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report to the highest possible category in terms of countries that carry out the best, most comprehensive state policies to combat, prevent and eradicate human trafficking.
Yesterday, President Mauricio Macri made an announcement at the Casa Rosada detailing his administration’s new, more developed plan to prevent human trafficking. The policies were released as part of Resolution 635/2018 by the Security Ministry, and were also published in the government’s official bulletin.
The Ministry’s resolution includes a number of resources to combat human trafficking, including two protocols, two guides, a manual, and a series of guidelines to “regulate and guide the actions of the federal security forces” to “prevent and avert the crime of human trafficking, as well as related crimes; persecuting the perpetrators and protecting the victims.”
While some of Argentina’s new strategy to combat human trafficking was published in the government’s official bulletin, many other policies remain classified and were not released.
“It is the first time in our history that a concrete, guided, step-by-step plan has been laid out to combat these crimes,” the President stated. “This will thus serve to make right a historic debt that the Argentine State holds with its citizens, especially with those who have been victims themselves.”
He added: “The consequences of human trafficking and exploitation are even worse when there is a State that, rather than act, looks the other way. To govern is to care, to be at the service of Argentines, to be close to the people and listen to their needs.”
He then added that he feels “at peace” knowing that he’s stayed true to his word of offering “concrete answers” for Argentina’s problems, especially in regards to the issue of human trafficking. “Our commitment is state policy. Our commitment is to freedom,” the President emphasized.
The new regulations imposed by the Macri administration include recommendations for police officers and security forces on spotting cases of human trafficking among more general complaints and reports made to them—especially those of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or domestic abuse—by being “alert to the victim’s story in order to detect a possible case of human trafficking.” The report also stresses that it is important “not to re-victimize people.”
The guide released by the government recommends that security forces receiving complaints or reports “be of the same gender as the victim in cases involving sexual assault or abuse, so that the latter feels more confident in reporting situations that could provoke reservations in front of a person of another gender.” In the case in which this cannot be done, the guide states that “it is convenient that the person receiving the complaint be significantly older than the victim.”
Other recommendations for receiving complaints that security personnel are suspicious might be cases of human trafficking, either for sexual or labor exploitation purposes, are listed as the following:
- “Whenever there is a social worker available in the police station/security force unit, they should always be the first point of contact with the victim, and accompany them when and while the report is being made. If a social worker is not available, the police officer or security personnel that is trained in this area should offer the victim the necessary primary support.”
- “The complaint must be taken in a secluded place, without the presence of others, in a context of protecting the victim’s privacy.”
- “Start the conversation with questions unrelated to the event to generate a less tense environment and establish trust, then allow the person interviewed to give an open account of the situation that they suffered, trying to interrupt as little as possible.”
- “The officer who takes the complaint should: try to establish a relationship of trust with the victim; show a predisposition to listen fully and openly to their story; show the victim that they are believed and taken seriously; ask open questions, beginning with ‘what,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘how’; avoid, as much as possible, asking direct questions that can be answered with a yes or no.”
- “Remember that the victim has the right to receive information about their rights in a language that they understand, and in a way that corresponds to their age and education levels, to receive protection against any possible reprisal against their person or their family and to be informed of the weight and repercussions of their actions, the measures adopted and the evolution of the process.”