IOM organizes Regional Congress on Human Trafficking and Organ Trafficking in Central America

Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Other, Panama
8 March, 2019


Guatemala City, Guatemala. Trafficking organs and tissues and human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal are crimes that pose several challenges and questions at the international level.  They threaten human rights, violating people’s dignity and integrity, their freedom of movement, and on occasion their right to life. The region has favorable conditions for organ trafficking, because it contains countries with the necessary development, medical tourism, and medical and hospital capacity, but also has population groups that are highly vulnerable economically and socially, as well as challenges with respect to legislation on the issue. 

The Secretariat against Sexual Violence, Exploitation, and Human Trafficking of Guatemala and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with support from Lawyers Without Borders, held the first Regional Congress on human trafficking March 5-6 in Guatemala City, addressing the removal and trafficking of human organs and tissues. Experts and prosecutors from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Belize participated.

The first objective of the Congress was to build capacity in the region through training and exchanging experiences focused on preventing, combating, and punishing human trafficking for removal and trafficking of human organs and tissues. It also provided an opportunity to exchange experiences and information on preventing and combating this crime, as stated in Resolution 59/156, Preventing, combating, and punishing trafficking in human organs, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

 “The issue of human trafficking must remain on the agenda in the region, which is the most important migration corridor in the world and has high poverty rates. It is essential for diverse sectors of the population, governments, academia, health professionals, and migration institutions to combine forces and work together, both internally and at the regional level,” stated Marcelo Pisani, Regional Director of IOM in Central, North America, and the Caribbean. 

Participants in the activity included professionals who are experts in human trafficking and in human organ and tissue transplants. Doctors, prosecutors, police, judges, medical students, forensic specialists from INACIF, representatives of the College of Physicians of Guatemala, representatives from the transplant departments of national and private hospitals, non-governmental organizations, representatives from the Regional Coalition against Human Trafficking, national universities, and international organizations that work on the issue of human trafficking also participated.

This activity was held within the framework of the Regional Migration Program: Mesoamerica-The Caribbean, with support from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the Department of State of the United States, and contributions from other IOM projects and partners. 

For more information, contact Tatiana Chacón at