The Civil Guard against human trafficking: 2,000 detainees and 4,000 victims released


An agent of the Civil Guard, during an investigation

An agent of the Civil Guard, during an investigation

About 17,000 actions, more than 2,000 detainees and almost 4,000 victims of sexual and labor exploitation released in the last decade. These are figures that summarize the fight against trafficking by the Civil Guard, involved in the persecution of criminals who take advantage of poverty and vulnerability to enrich themselves. On the occasion of the World Day Against Trafficking, which is celebrated this Friday, the head of the Human Trafficking section of the Technical Unit of the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard, Vicente Calvo, explains the work of the armed institute in this matter.

Was the 2010 reform of the Penal Code the one you entered in this rule the trafficking crimes for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. But a year earlier, the Civil Guard had already launched a service directive to plan the prevention and prosecution of these illegal activities. Its implementation throughout the territory, as Calvo recalls, allows the agents of the Benemérita to carry out a task of prevention and detection of these crimes beyond the urban area, by conducting inspections in hostess clubs, street prostitution, farms, workshops ….. All coordinated with the Labor Inspectorate and specialized prosecutors.

But also with NGOs and other entities dedicated to the protection of victims. Associations whose work, according to Calvo, is essential for the protection and recovery of the victims, as well as their cooperation in this fight.

And it is that trafficking victimsMany times coming from countries with not exactly democratic police, they are suspicious of the security forces and do not dare to report to them. A suspicion to which is added the fear of the networks that have brought them to Spain and with which they have acquired a debt that they never finish paying.

The numbers

With the reform of the Penal Code of 2010, the Intelligence Center against Terrorism and Organized Crime (CITCO) created a database where the State security forces, and now some regional police, turn their actions on trafficking. Since that date, the Civil Guard has counted more than 17,000 to actions to prevent and prosecute these crimes, more than 2,000 detainees for labor exploitation or sexual and about 4,000 victims released. Actions that since 2010 have been carried out under the umbrella of article 177 bis of the new reform of the Penal Code, which punishes with penalties of 5 to 8 years in prison human trafficking with one of these five purposes: exploitation sexual, labor, exploitation, the extraction of bodily organs, to carry out criminal activities and the celebration of forced marriages (These last two were introduced in the reform of the Penal Code of 2015).

The formation

“Each Party (country) shall provide its competent authorities with persons trained and qualified in preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and in the identification and assistance to victims. “This is what the Council of Europe Convention to combat trafficking, signed in Warsaw in 2005, says. your agents basic training in their academies for the identification and detection of trafficking. As Calvo explains, agents take certain indicators into account when detecting a potential victim of trafficking, as if that person does not have documentation, that he lives “quartered”, that in the almost of being a woman he is between 18 and 21 years old, etc … But apart from this basic training, in all the commands of the corps, agents are specialized Judicial Police in this matter, with a more complete training.

There is also another figure in all the commands: that of the social interlocutor against trafficking, who maintains permanent contact with the NGOs and monitors the protection of the released victims. In the case of irregular immigration, the Civil Guard has EDATI teams to assist immigrants, “highly sensitized” agents who are generally the first to have contact with them.

The investigation

Investigating this crime, which, as Calvo recalls, is not of commission, but of purpose, is not an easy task for the fear of victims to report. International cooperation is basic in the operational field due to the origin of the victims and for the patrimonial investigation of the organizations. But also in the strategic, in this case with organizations such as Europol, Interpol, Sirene, Eurojust or the Ibero-American Network for International Legal Cooperation to minimize the threat; as well as through the Interior Counselors and Attachés. Y In this investigation, you have to stop at every step that the networks take, from the recruitment of victims in the countries of origin, until the transfer to Spain, the accommodation and the labor or sexual exploitation itself. There is no more trafficking in Spain than in other countries, says Calvo, although it is a territory of transit and destination. Also of origin.

Networks take advantage of poverty and conflicts in countries to attract victims. In the case of sexual exploitation, Calvo explains, it is increasing the arrival of women from Nicaragua and Venezuela, when some ago they came from Eastern Europe. These are facts that the investigations confirm, which have also verified how the “bad guys” take advantage of the networks of irregular immigration to bring women and minors to be exploited. Social networks are also fulfilling their role in the recruitment phase without the members of the networks having to travel.

And the worst thing, Calvo emphasizes, is that it is practically impossible for victims to escape from the clutches of these criminal organizations, which keep them tied to a debt for their transfer, accommodation and maintenance that is getting fatter every day. The hope: the awareness of society and that they dare to denounce, but some are not even aware that their rights are not being respected.

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