IOM Panama launches training sessions on human trafficking and migrant smuggling

21 June, 2021

With the aim of raising awareness, sensitizing and  strengthening the capacities of the personnel of ports, airports and other points of entry, as well as the government officials that are part of the National Commission against Human Trafficking from the participating regions,  a cycle of training sessions was developed and organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in various provinces of the Republic of Panama. 


The sessions began on June 8th, 2021, in Panama City, continued on the 10th and 11th in Herrera and ended on the 17th and 18th in Colón. In total, more than 100 civil servants were trained, with the help of national specialists who have sought the exchange of inter-institutional information and compliance with the various international instruments ratified by Panama, in particular those dealing with human trafficking and related activities. 


This activity is part of the Western Hemisphere Program, funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the U.S. Department of State, and the Regional Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (RMRP), an interagency initiative that provides a comprehensive response framework to the identified needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and their host communities, and also seeks to strengthen local and national capacities. 


"One of the great challenges in the fight against human trafficking, in Panama and the region, is the adequate training of key personnel in the different instances whose role is strategically important for the detection and attention of cases of human trafficking and migrant, with a comprehensive approach," explained Idiam Osorio, IOM Senior Project Assistant in Panama. 


Human trafficking is a phenomenon that affects every country in the world, with a growing number of victims identified. It is often linked to structural inequalities and global challenges, but it is fundamentally a violation of the rights of the victims, who are denigrated and denied their personal freedom to be used by traffickers for forced activities to enrich criminal networks. 


With the ratification of Law No 79 of the 9th of November, 2011, against Human Trafficking and Related Activities, the Panamanian government has committed to a number of national and international responsibilities in relation to the prevention of the crime, prosecution of offenders, and protection of victims in their response to human trafficking. 


Dayra Campos, Technical Secretary of the National Commission against Human Trafficking of the Ministry of Public Security highlights that "in this time of health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not an impediment for the work of the National Commission against Human Trafficking to continue advancing together with the support of IOM, since respect for human rights, the physical, mental and social well-being of the individuals, their communities and the sustainability of actions through the development of institutional capacity remains a priority task. That is why the Commission extends the current National Plan until 2022, appropriate to the new reality, without stopping." 

In recent years, more than 120 potential victims have been rescued, the majority of whom were women.  The cases investigated refer to trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, the victims of which are mainly women between the ages of 19 and 30, from Colombian, Venezuelan, Cuban and Costa Rican nationality.  In addition, there has been an increase in cases of trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, in activities related to construction and industry, the victims of which are mostly men, but also women, between the ages of 25 and 40, of Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Cuban and Panamanian nationalities.  


For more information, please contact Mayteé Zachrisson, IOM Panama Communications and Media Assistant, at