[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

VENEZUELA (Tier 3) Extracted from the U.S. State Dept 2020 TIP Report

The Government of Venezuela does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making any efforts to do so; therefore Venezuela remained on Tier 3. On January 10, 2019, the term of former president Nicolas Maduro ended. On January 23, 2019, Juan Guaido, assumed the role of interim president; however, former president Maduro refused to cede control preventing interim president Guaido from exercising authority within the country. Despite the lack of significant efforts, in 2019, Venezuelan authorities under Maduro created a specialized prosecutor’s office to oversee trafficking investigations and prosecutions and according to press reports, began legal proceedings against three complicit officials in a notable case involving potential victims of trafficking who disappeared at sea. However, authorities did not report assisting any victims, or investigating, prosecuting, or convicting any traffickers. Venezuelan authorities did not make sufficient efforts to curb the forced recruitment of Venezuelan children by Colombian illegal armed groups operating in their territory with impunity and did not make any efforts to screen Cuban medical professionals for trafficking indicators.

Prioritized Recommendations

Investigate, prosecute, and convict trafficking cases, including complicit officials and anyone involved in the forcible recruitment of children into illegal armed groups.Provide specialized services for all trafficking victims, including repatriated victims, child soldiers, men, boys, and LGBTI individuals.Draft and enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation criminalizing all forms of trafficking, including the criminalization of child sex trafficking without elements of force, fraud, or coercion, and the trafficking of men and boys.Increase staffing and funding for the office of the special prosecutor to combat trafficking.Educate Venezuelans fleeing the country on the risks of human trafficking, as well as where and how to seek services.Train all migration and law enforcement officials operating in border crossings on trafficking indicators.Given significant concerns about forced labor indicators in Cuban Medical Missions, screen Cuban medical professionals for trafficking indicators and refer those identified to appropriate services.Work in partnership with civil society organizations and other service providers to assist victims.Implement formal procedures and training for identifying victims among vulnerable populations, such as individuals in commercial sex, and for referring victims for care.Develop and publish an anti-trafficking action plan taking into account present challenges and allocate resources for its implementation.Enhance interagency cooperation by forming a permanent anti-trafficking working group.Improve data collection on government anti-trafficking efforts and make this data publicly available.