Visit to Colombia – Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Siobhán Mullally (A/HRC/56/60/Add.1) – Colombia


Human Rights Council
Fifty-sixth session
June 18-July 12, 2024
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development


The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Siobhán Mullally, visited Colombia from 22 to 31 May 2023. She welcomes the country’s commitment to combating all forms of trafficking in persons . In this report, the Special Rapporteur addresses all forms of trafficking in persons and makes recommendations to strengthen prevention, protection and accountability measures.


Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Siobhán Mullally, on her visit to Colombia


1. The Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Siobhán Mullally, visited Colombia from May 22 to 31, 2023 to assess the situation of trafficking in persons, especially women and children. children. She thanks the Colombian government for the cooperation shown before, during and after the visit. She particularly thanks the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its excellent support and well-organized commitment. She welcomes the cooperative approach of all authorities and their willingness to engage in open and constructive dialogue.

2. The Special Rapporteur met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the Internal Working Group on Crime Prevention within the Directorate of Political and Multilateral Affairs and the Directorate of Migration and consular and citizen services. She also met representatives of the Ministry of Labor and the Labor Inspectorate, the Deputy Minister of the Interior and representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, including the Directorate of Participation and Equality, Migration Colombia, from the Colombian Institute for Family Protection and Antiquity. -Trafficking Operations Center, representatives of the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Defense, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the national police, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ministry of Education , organs of the transitional justice mechanism, the Research Unit for Persons missing in the context and because of the armed conflict, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the Monitoring and Control Committee responsible for verifying the implementation implementation of the recommendations of the Commission for Truth Clarification, Coexistence and Non-Repetition, and the local and departmental authorities of Bogotá, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Medellín and Ipiales which are part of the territorial mechanisms to combat human trafficking.

3. The Special Rapporteur visited Bogotá, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Apartadó, Necoclí, Pasto and Ipiales and met with the President and members of the Constitutional Court and the Ombudsman. She also met with representatives of United Nations agencies in Bogotá and field offices, and visited the Cúcuta prison.

4. The Special Rapporteur thanks the United Nations country team, in particular the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Colombia, for its excellent support during the visit, as well as the agencies of United Nations who facilitated the meetings. and organized visits.

5. During her visit, the Special Rapporteur met with human rights defenders, representatives of civil society and victims of trafficking in persons for all purposes of exploitation. The Special Rapporteur is particularly grateful to the victims of trafficking in persons and their family members who met with her and whose testimonies of serious human rights violations informed the analysis and recommendations contained in this report .

II. Context and background

6. The Special Rapporteur notes that the current situation in Colombia continues to be characterized by serious human rights violations, including serious risks of trafficking in persons, particularly where non-State armed groups maintain control of territories and control and restrict freedom of movement through containment measures and systemic violence targeting in particular indigenous, Afro-Colombian and rural communities. 1 Additionally, local and regional organized crime groups and transnational criminal organizations engage in human trafficking for any purpose of exploitation.2

7. Throughout the visit, concerns were highlighted regarding potential links and overlapping criminal activities of criminal organizations engaged in trafficking in persons and non-state armed groups involved in related activities, including mining. and potentially illegal deforestation, production, sale and supply of coca. , sexual exploitation of women and girls, and the recruitment and use of children (which constitutes a form of human trafficking). Given the complex challenges it faces, the Government’s efforts to combat serious crimes and disarm and demobilize armed groups require continued support.

8. Serious concerns remain about the persistence or increase in violence and crime, including kidnappings, extortion, forced recruitment and conflict-related sexual violence, which have persisted or increased and are considered to be closely linked to economic dynamics and social and territorial control. These crimes are closely linked and can be indicators of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, sexual slavery, child and forced marriage, and forced crime. Indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians and communities in the departments of Antioquia, Bolívar, Cauca, Chocó, Nariño and Putumayo are particularly affected.3 The Special Rapporteur welcomes the differential approach adopted by the Agency for Reintegration and standardization to combat the recruitment and use of children, promote gender equality and combat gender-based violence.

9. Colombia hosts nearly 3 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants, of whom approximately 2.4 million benefit from temporary protection status, introduced by government decree in 2021 in response to the situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The Special Rapporteur highlights the importance of this program, which has made a significant contribution to the prevention of trafficking in persons and other forms of exploitation. Temporary protection status provides for regularization, access to formal employment, education, health care, financial services and a 10-year residence permit.4 Provisions are also made for applying for residency permanent.5 The shared responsibility demonstrated by Colombia in welcoming migrants and Venezuelans access to international protection, regularization and social inclusion through the realization of the socioeconomic rights of all Venezuelan migrants and refugees , including those in an irregular situation, who are very vulnerable to exploitation.