Human trafficking in Nicaragua

May 20, 2019 | English Blog

Human trafficking is a violation of human rights that affects millions of people around the world, without distinction of race, sex, age, religion, nationality, economic status, etc. and unfortunately our country is not exempt from being affected by this problem.

Therefore, in order to have an adequate legal framework to combat trafficking in persons, Nicaragua in 2015 approved Law 896, Law against Trafficking in Persons, which was published in La Gaceta Official Gazette No. 38 of 25 February 2015, this in accordance with the constitutional mandate that provides that no one should be subjected to servitude and slavery and trafficking of any nature, are prohibited in all its forms.

Law 896, which is of public order and who’s objective is the prevention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of the crime of trafficking of persons, as well as the protection and integral attention to the victims, and particular protection to witnesses, technicians, experts and other subjects involved in the investigation and criminal proceedings, which includes nationals transferred to other points of the national or international territory, as well as foreigners without distinction of migratory statutes that are transferred to the national territory. The foregoing in order to eradicate all forms of human trafficking that may include forced labor, child labor, labor exploitation, sexual exploitation, or any other form of exploitation.

For the purpose of the above, Law 896 creates the Commission of the National Coalition Against Trafficking of Persons, which is created as an instance of consultation and coordination, for the formulation and implementation, evaluation and monitoring of public policies for prevention, research, care and protection of victims, as well as the prosecution and punishment of the crime of trafficking in persons.

Law 896 mandates that the State develop a process of approval and implementation of a Public Policy for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons, and for this the Law defines that the following actions be implemented:

1) Disseminate, communicate and inform Nicaraguan families and communities, on the prevention of Trafficking of Persons and related crimes, through education and values education.

2) Develop content in the educational curriculum in each of the levels, preschool, primary and secondary, to prevent girls, boys, adolescents and young people from being victims of the crime of human trafficking, this will be done in coordination with the school councils , the local councils of education and others  related to the subject;

3) Disclose, communicate and inform the members of the tourism and hotel industry at the national level, about the prevention measures that allow the detection, identification, and eradication of the different forms of trafficking in persons through any means;

4) Inform, sensitize and train airline staff, hotel chains, national and international public transportation services, tour operators, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and casinos, about the responsibility they may incur in case they facilitate or fail to impede the conducts inherent in human trafficking, as well as to guide them in the prevention of this crime;

5) Establish mechanisms of control, dissemination, communication and information in the migratory posts, at the national level, to detect, identify, prevent and eradicate all forms of human trafficking;

6) Develop outreach campaigns to raise awareness and training  for youth and adolescents, in order to  empower them and prevent human trafficking;

7) Take measures to increase awareness, attention and research of all forms of labor exploitation and forced labor, and the factors that underlie their demand; increase social awareness of the products and services derived from forced labor and labor exploitation, regulate, register and accredit private recruitment agencies and raise awareness among employers;

8) Develop and apply labor prevention regulations through inspections and other relevant means, in order to detect and inform the competent authorities of the crime of human trafficking;

Additionally, the Law mandates that private companies support the elimination of all forms of trafficking in persons and that all communications agencies, written, radio/television, social media, public and private, collaborate in the dissemination of the different prevention programs, education and information against this crime.

The law also directs non-profit civil organizations whose objectives are linked to the protection and victims of the crime of trafficking in persons, to immediately inform the National Police and the Public Ministry of the cases they know of.

On the other hand, hotels, hostels, motels, lodgings, pensions and similar, discos, restaurants, casinos, bars and other nightclubs through their administrative managers, owners or staff must be able to inform the national police and the public prosecutor in the case of suspicion of the commission of the crime of trafficking in persons, the same applies to the personnel of maritime, air, land, lake, national and international transportation services and their respective terminals.

Likewise, public institutions, by mandate of law, within the scope of their competence, must guarantee at all times the rights of victims of the crime of trafficking in persons. The primary care to the affected must be applied immediately and confidentially and these measures must include the following:

1) Protection of the victim’s physical integrity, identity and privacy;

2) Supplies to meet the basic needs for personal hygiene, food and clothing;

3) Specialized medical and psychological assistance, as appropriate;

4) Conducting the HIV, STI, or other tests that are required under the medical protocols and procedures established by the Ministry of Health, with the prior consent of the victims of the crime, in accordance with Law N °. 820, Law for the Promotion, Protection and Defense of Human Rights in the face of HIV and AIDS, for its Prevention and Attention, published in La Gaceta, Official Gazette N °. 242 of December 18, 2012;

5) Safe and adequate accommodation.

6) Provide assistance to relatives or persons who have a direct and immediate relationship with the victim, as well as to those who have suffered damage when intervening to assist the victim in danger or to prevent the victimization of the third party.

7) Legal advice for victims and family members;

8) Psychosocial assistance for victims and family members, in the language and / or language they understand, providing translation services or interpreter if required;

9) Guarantee the right to communication by providing them with the means to exercise this right, when it does not endanger their physical and emotional integrity, nor the crime investigation process; Y

10) Facilitate consular assistance when appropriate.

The law also indicates the secondary assistance that victims should receive, which will be applied regardless of the progress of the investigation, the criminal judicial process or repatriation. It is important to mention that the Law establishes forms of protection for victims and establishes the following rights:

1) Protection and security of life, physical integrity, freedom and identity for the victim and his/her family members;

2) Attention with humanitarian warmth, respect, dignity, adherence to laws and human rights;

3) Receive material, medical, psychological, legal and social care;

4) Immediate access to justice;

5) Be heard and intervene in all instances of the process when it requests it;

6) Receive clear and understandable information about their legal status and immigration status in a language or language they understand according to their age, disability status or area of origin;

7) Reparation for the damage caused in the psychological, social, medical, work and educational fields, as well as the restitution of their human rights;

8) Submit your advance declaration, without visual contact with him or the accused persons, the judicial authority will have the obligation to safeguard your personal data in order to protect the identity and render your declaration by electronic means, according to the availability;

9) Offer means or elements of proof;

10) Know the legal situation in relation to the deprivation of liberty of the person investigated or accused of the crime of which he was a victim;

11) Voluntary repatriation and family reunification in a safe environment;

12) Ensure a safe environment during the investigative proceedings and court appearances for the victim and their family members;

13) Request refuge in accordance with the law of the matter.

As we can see, Nicaragua has a normative framework to prevent and eradicate human trafficking in the country and it is the task of everyone in society to take the necessary actions to prevent and eradicate this crime in their case. Law 896 declared July 30 of each year as the national day against trafficking in persons in order to raise awareness of the situation of victims and related crimes.