Central America is one of the largest migration corridors through which large populations are constantly moving, both intra and extra regionally. Many of these people often resource to criminal networks of smugglers to complete their journeys.

 Migrant smuggling is a felony against the territorial sovereignty of a State. It happens when the irregular crossing of a border is facilitated to a person who is not a national of a resident of the country being entered, in exchange for a financial or otherwise material gain. 

Trafficking in persons, in the other hand, is a severe violation of Human Rights. It is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other coercive means, 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.

Within the framework of the Western Hemisphere Program, IOM strives to strengthen national capacities for the prevention and prosecution of the crimes of trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling.  


Information and Communication Technologies and Migrant Smuggling in Central America, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic

This research provides an overview of the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the facilitation of migrant smuggling operations in Central America, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. At the same time, it provides concrete recommendations to address challenges and to include the use of ICTs in the prosecution and execution of actions to combat this crime.

Infographics about trafficking in persons

The Regional Coalition against Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling offers a compilation of reports about trafficking in persons in the region and in each individual country it comprises.

Regional report: counter-trafficking actions in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. 2019

This infographic highlights the actions carried out in the region against trafficking in persons, specifically in the areas of identification and assistance of victims, prosecution, repatriation, and prevention of trafficking in persons. It should be noted that, in the case of Mexico, the data presented are preliminary figures and are subject to change.

Summary of the study: Smuggling of Migrants in Central America and Mexico, in the context of COVID-19

Discover the main findings of this study, conducted between July and August, 2020.

Standard Operating Procedures for Front-Line Border Officials at the Point of Entry in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak

The purpose of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) is to provide quick guidance to border officials to prevent disease transmission and contamination of the working and living premises by COVID-19, as well as effectively manage suspected and/or probable COVID-19 cases.

Infographics: Trafficking in Persons in the Region 2018

Infographics with statistics and actions related to Trafficking in Persons in Central America, Dominican Republic and Mexico in 2018.  Joint work with the Regional Coalition against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (CORETT). 


Mesoamerica Factsheet on Human Trafficking

Fact sheet that shows statistical data on the activities developed by the Mesoamerica Program in the region related to the prevention of human trafficking and the risks associated with irregular migration from 2014 to 2017.

Addressing Human Trafficking

This Knowledge Uptake provides lessons learned and promising practice-oriented solutions to feed into the consultations for the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) and serves as a global knowledge product for policymakers and practitioners. The Knowledge Uptake draws upon IOM’s years of experience in supporting migration policy and implementing operational programs and services to address human trafficking and protect victims, including through IOM’s Global Assistance Fund (GAF) and Regional Migration Programs, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).