Fighting Human Trafficking and Aiding Victims in Mexico

For three years, MSI helped to implement the Mexico Trafficking in Persons Shelter Project or PROTEJA. The USAID-funded project was part of the President’s Initiative to Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP).

PROTEJA helped in the successful approval of federal anti-trafficking legislation and laws in seven states. In 2007, the Mexican National Congress approved the federal Law to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

PROTEJA finalized and published a Legislative and Comparative Analyses that serve as vital instruments for identifying states most in need of immediate reform, and organizations or groups pursuing comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation.

The project also increased public understanding of trafficking and was able to usher policy changes through a variety of means, including training of government officials and the public, holding educational forums for the public, using media to highlight the issue, developing an interactive website, and producing educational materials like pamphlets and a short film to reach broader audiences.

More than 14,000 government officials and members of the public were trained in combating human trafficking.

PROTEJA worked with five local shelters to increase the impact and sustainability of intervention models for trafficking victims and survivors. The projects experts updated their models to address trafficking victims’ needs, including the provision of financial and technical aid through coordinated meetings, formal training and one-on-one consultations.

The project also held workshops at each shelter on basic trafficking concepts, applying international instruments to prosecute and penalize traffickers, the national- and state-level judicial frameworks to prosecute, and the tools available to provide assistance and protection to victims.

PROTEJA’s experts also assisted with the launch of criminal prosecutions for violations on behalf of the shelters and offered legal advice to help trafficking victims. The project’s officials worked with the shelters at an administrative level.

Almost 65,000 victims received some sort of assistance. The PROJETA project concluded in 2009.