Thanks to the investigative work, four criminal organizations received a hard blow. They were allegedly involved in this criminal phenomenon. 17 female victims, 6 of them minors, were rescued in an operation.
The finances of one of the structures were affected with the precautionary measures imposed on 7 assets valued at COP 1,500 million.
During his visit to Arauca, the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa Delgado, learned first-hand about the most common criminal phenomena in the department in order to create strategies to counteract them.
“We came here to analyze the criminal behavior and the way to face certain crimes that are affecting the border area with Venezuela and our citizens at the same time. Theft, murder, personal injuries, and cattle rustling are some of those crimes that particularly affect citizens who are in rural areas and some in urban areas”, stated the Attorney General Barbosa.
He also announced the results that were produced thanks to the strengthening of the Group for the Fight against Human Trafficking (Grupo de Articulación para la Lucha contra la Trata de Personas) of the Delegate Office against the Organized Crime, which now has a greater number of prosecutors, analysts, and specialized judicial police, as well as resources that make it possible to combat the large criminal organizations involved in this form of human slavery.
As a matter of fact, Arauca and Norte Santander are Departments with border areas that have been used by criminals. The legal and illegal transit of migrants through these regions has contributed to the fact that foreign citizens, in many cases, become victims of human trafficking.
Given the new reality and with the guidelines drawn up by the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa, the institution is not only investigating cases of Colombian citizens who are victims of this crime in other countries, but cases of foreigners who would be exploited in the country.
Thanks to a complete analysis of these mixed migratory flows (regular or irregular), it has been possible to identify that this phenomenon contributes to the organized crime such as drug trafficking, arms trafficking, human smuggling, and human trafficking.
Under these guidelines, an investigative line is now included. This will have anti-corruption prosecutors to investigate possible links between public servants and these criminal organizations.
In the development of the strategies to achieve the Strategic Direction 2020-2024, the Delegate Office against the Organized Crime achieved conclusive results in 2020 in the fight against human trafficking, a crime of high-impact and form of human slavery that affects the integrity of girls, adolescents, and women, as well as people in vulnerable situation.
Through the Coordination Group for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons and Related Crimes (Grupo de Articulación para la Lucha contra la Trata de Personas y Delitos Conexos), the Office of the Attorney General has been documenting and characterizing the criminal phenomenon in order to guarantee victims a proper access to the administration of justice.
Results of operations
The strengthening of the team and the strategies implemented have produced important results. “This year we dismantled four criminal structures, 22 people were arrested, 6 minors and 11 women were rescued. These organizations used these places, the border area with Venezuela, but at the same time Ecuador, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Peru, affecting the rights of our citizens”, revealed the Attorney General.
Among the operations, the following stand out:
- ‘Jade’ Operation: In this investigation, it was identified the existence of a human trafficking network involved in locating women in Santander, Antioquia and other parts of the country, some of them migrants; in order to make them job offers as models abroad and through different illicit maneuvers transfer them to China. In that country, they were apparently forced to engage in sexual activities. Seven alleged members of the criminal structure were arrested in proceedings carried out in Cundinamarca, Santander, Valle del Cauca and Quindío. Likewise, under the coordination of a special prosecutor appointed to the Office on Assets Seizure, the precautionary measures such as the suspension of power to alienate a property and a seizure process were imposed on 3 properties, 2 commercial establishments, 2 vehicles located in the Department of Quindío, in Bucaramanga and Bogotá which apparently belonged to this criminal organization.
- ‘Némesis’ Operation: the investigations revealed the actions of a criminal organization composed of Colombian and Venezuelan citizens who committed crimes in Yopal (Casanare). As a result of this operation, 10 people were arrested. Also, 6 minors who were sexually exploited and 11 women of Venezuelan nationality were rescued.
- ‘Guangzhou 2020’ case: An alleged member of the Guangzhou criminal organization, accused of recruiting, transferring, and receiving victims to engage them in exploitation was arrested. This person transferred victims from the coffee-growing are, Valle del Cauca and Antioquia to the city of Guangzhou (China) after deceiving the victims with alleged job offers.
- ‘Alzate’ case: Within the framework of mandatory preventive isolation for travelers, 4 people from China entered the country and were alleged members of a criminal organization involved in human trafficking to that Asian country. The four were arrested and remain under detention.
Judicial and technical cooperation
These overwhelming results are due to a joint work between the Office of the Attorney General in Colombia, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the United States Department of State, as well as other Attorney Generals and public prosecutors of the hemisphere with whom experiences have been shared at the AIAMP (in Spanish Red de Trata de Personas y Tráfico Ilícito de Migrantes) formed by Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Panama, and Ecuador.
In this multilateral technical scenario, the Office of the Attorney General in Colombia leads the topic of mixed migratory flows and its relationship with situations of exploitation.
The aim of this cooperation is to share platforms and technologies for the collection and analysis of crime data that allow the strengthening of the generation of information as a support within the justice systems.
The use of such tools and investigations allows to warn that the prevailing purpose of exploitation is the sexual exploitation (prostitution, pornography, sex tourism), followed by labor exploitation (activities related to the formal or informal economy such as begging, street sales, domestic labor, agriculture, work in farms), the establishment of filial relationships (servile marriage) and to a lesser extent the alleged irregular adoption.
The Office of the Attorney General makes this information public for reasons of general interest.