Alejo Campos from Crime Stoppers: ‘After the pandemic, Panama has been seen as a destination country for human trafficking’

A few days ago, a report from the United States Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Office revealed that Panama “does not meet the minimum standards for the elimination” of this crime, however, it acknowledges that the country “is making efforts significant to achieve it.

Despite the effort highlighted in the report and the increased capacity to combat trafficking compared to the previous report period, considering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Panama remains in category 2 because “the Government did not meet minimum standards in several key areas.

In this sense, Alejo Campos, regional director of Crime Stoppers, explained that Panama has always been considered a transit country for victims of human trafficking, it has never been a country of origin or destination.

“In recent years this has changed and since the pandemic, Panama has been seen as a destination country, this means that many of the victims who are captured in other countries, remain in Panama because of these human trafficking structures to be sexually and labor exploited,” he said.

He recalled that last year, around 134,000 migrants passed through our country seeking to reach the United States through the Darién Gap.

“I relate to the issue of the migrants who pass through the Darién because many of these irregular migrants know that it is something legal, then when they run out of money, because they are robbed along the way, the relatives do not give them any more money and they lose track of them, they are captured by some structures of people who tell them that the next crossing costs them so much money and if they don’t have it, they have to work for them.In the case of men, work means labor exploitation and in the case of women it is sexual exploitation Fields explained.

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