Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, Director of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) concluded a three-day visit to Mexico February 14, encouraging everyone to increase prosecution, protection, and prevention efforts in their efforts in the fight against TIP. During his visit, Ambassador CdeBaca was able to meet with a broad range of Mexican TIP experts from across government, academia and non-governmental organizations and learn about the challenges and opportunities in the fight against TIP in Mexico.
“Human trafficking is a serious issue in Mexico, and it is a high priority for the United States to work with the Mexican government and civil society to combat it. An integral part of fighting trafficking in persons is to understand it, so I truly appreciate the opportunity to meet and learn from this broad range of TIP experts. They truly are carrying out Pope Francis’s exhortation that we ‘not look the other way’ when we see our ‘brother or sister who is enslaved.’”
Among the many experts Ambassador CdeBaca was able to meet were Mario Luis Fuentes, the Director of the Center for Research on Social Development and Assistance (CEIDAS), who shared the legal challenges with regards to TIP in Mexico and Antonio Mazzitelli, the Head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Mexico and Central America, who informed on the regional context and the links between TIP and the smuggling of migrants. Ambassador CdeBaca also had the opportunity to meet with prominent TIP activist Rosi Orozco on her efforts to mobilize civil society organizations, and Senators Adriana Dávila, President of the Trafficking in Persons Committee, and Angelica de la Peña, President of the Human Rights Committee to learn about ongoing legislation in Mexico. Ambassador CdeBaca also met with government authorities in Cancun, Quintana Roo, about their efforts to combat trafficking and sex tourism in the tourism industry, and spoke with hotel executives about how to identify and report trafficking victims.
Ambassador CdeBaca was appointed by President Obama to coordinate U.S. government activities in the global fight against contemporary forms of slavery. He serves as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and directs the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. His office is responsible for the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and a reflection of the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. Mexico was ranked a “Tier 2” country in the 2013 report, a representation meaning, “Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards.”