Press Release

IACHR Welcomes the Commitment of the OAS LGBTI Core Group Member States in Advancing in the Protection of the LGBTI Persons Victims of Human Trafficking

December 9, 2016

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Washington D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the initiative of the Core Group on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Persons (LGBTI) of the Organization of American States (OAS), formed by Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, the United States, and Uruguay to organize, in the frame of the International Human Rights Day, the event “LGBTI youth in the Americas: Advancing a Commitment to Address Victims of Trafficking in Persons“, with the goal of making visible the problems that affect some LGBT young people and the difficulties they face as survivors of human trafficking.

In this sense, the Commission stresses the importance of addressing this issue and urges the OAS member states to continue the dialogue towards adopting regional measures to address and eradicate this problem that transcends national boundaries. 

The event will take place next Monday, December 12th at the Hall of the Americas and will count with the participation, among others, of the Special Envoy of the United States for Human Rights of LGBTI Persons, Randy Berry; the Senior Adviser on LGBTQ2 affairs by Canadian Prime Minister, Randy Boissonnault; The World Bank's Special Adviser on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Clifton Cortez; and the Rapporteur on LGBTI rights of the IACHR, Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren Praeli.

On its report "Violence against LGBTI persons in America", the IACHR established that LGBT persons are extremely vulnerable to violence, discrimination and exclusion within their countries on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or expression, real or perceived, and for this reason, in occasions they are forced to migrate which can lead to various forms of discrimination against these persons in transit and in destination countries. The synergy of these factors exacerbates the structural vulnerability of LGBT people, especially young people, to become victims of trafficking due to the fact that LGBT people often face poverty, social exclusion, and high homelessness rates, which pushes them toward informal economies and make them easy targets for traffickers seeking to benefit from them and take advantage of their vulnerability and lack of resources.

"The discrimination that affects LGBT people in societies within our region inserts them in a cycle of exclusion that tends to culminate in poverty due to lack of access to services, opportunities and social benefits that in some cases start from an early age. This cycle of poverty and lack of structural access to their rights situates them in a vulnerable position to be victims of the different modalities of human trafficking. For this reason, it is vital that states in the region take measures to counteract the discrimination and structural exclusion that is affecting LGBT youth and adults as a way to counteract the factors that incite them becoming victims of human trafficking", said Francisco Eguiguren Praeli, First Vice-President and Rapporteur on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) of the IACHR.

The Inter-American Commission on its report on Violence against LGBTI persons recommended that OAS member states carry out trainings directed to law enforcement officials and service providers to improve procedures to identify victims of human trafficking and to adopt victim assistance services to meet the specific needs of LGBT persons who are affected by trafficking. These trainings must be developed in consultation with LGBT organizations and support groups. The IACHR also emphasizes the importance of collecting statistical information to understand the magnitude of the problem and to design effective policies to address this alarming situation.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 184/16