Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic Strengthened their Tools to Combat Migrant Smuggling

Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Panama
28 September, 2021


On September 7, 2021, a first technical exchange on the issue of migrant smuggling took place between Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic with the participation of representatives of the three countries. The activity sought to strengthen intergovernmental response capacity, continue the training of the police forces of Panama and Costa Rica in the prevention of migrant smuggling and learn first-hand the best practices implemented by the Dominican Republic in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking and migrant smuggling crimes, as a reference country due to the progress it has made in this topic. 


The meeting was attended by important actors who contribute to the optimization of migration management, representing ministries of foreign affairs, migration directorates and institutes, national police, security ministries and airport staff, among others. 


"In the year of President Luis Abinader’s rule, and as part of the efforts to eradicate human trafficking, child marriage was recently banned, a special shelter for victims of human trafficking was opened and support has been given for consulates to cover costs of return and health care in collaboration with IOM. In addition, the Fund for Victims of Trafficking was created, which will come from the payment of the tourist card for entry to the country, which will contribute $1 per tourist", explained Jatzel Román, Deputy Minister for Consular and Migration Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic. 


For his part, Dr. Wilfredo Lozano of the National Migration Institute, said that from this institution, the Dominican Republic is working hard to combat the trafficking and smuggling of migrants and is contributing through the specialization of professionals who face this, in addition to conducting research that provides information and statistics to policy makers. 


As part of the activities, several panels were held to discuss the experiences of the Inter-Agency Commission against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (CITIM), the presentation of the work on migration control, experiences in crime investigation and new intelligence and detection techniques applied in the Dominican Republic. The changes in the country’s migration laws were also highlighted, ranging from migratory flows to the socio-political determinants that are necessary for mobility processes. 


The technical exchange agenda included information on the integrated security systems at Las Americas Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez International Airport and the Punta Cana International Airport. In addition, a special session was held with the Immigration Intelligence and Control officers of the Directorate-General of Migration of the Dominican Republic to address the main challenges and best practices applied to the investigation and prosecution of crime, as well as a final meeting of exchange of experiences at the National School of Migration (ENM), of the National Migration Institute of the Dominican Republic. 


This activity was implemented under IOM’s Western Hemisphere Program, funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.