TIP Award Year:
As the head of the Specialized Office for Investigation of Kidnapping and Trafficking in Persons’ cases (UFASE), Marcelo Colombo has been an incredible advocate in Argentina for anti-trafficking work. During his time there, his efforts have not only been spent on prosecution but also on improving the procedures used in human trafficking cases. He has improved data collection, formulated and distributed guidance on trafficking investigation best practices, and raised awareness and trained investigators. He directed the creation of a database containing trafficking cases, helped law enforcement officers and prosecutors detect regional and socio-economic trends, and established an on-line resource available for prosecutors on the law with regards to human trafficking case preparation. Mr. Colombo has improved institutional cooperation within the government by formalizing partnerships with the judiciary’s Office for Women and the executive’s Ministry of Security and Office of Rescue to ensure best practices are implemented in rescue operations
He won the first conviction for human trafficking in Argentina in 2009, and successfully prosecuted 19 other offenders in 2011. He was also influential in the process to modify the laws concerning trafficking. The draft bill intended to modify the provisions of that law passed the senate in 2011. In 2012, he was given a Trafficking in Persons Report Hero Award in recognition of his fight against modern-day slavery.
In the 2014 TIP Report, Argentina was listed as a Tier 2 country. It is a source, destination, and transit country for victims of both forced labor and sex trafficking. Many women are trafficked into Argentina for sexual exploitation, and some are trafficked internally. Forced labor is also a problem, and one that the government takes less seriously than sex trafficking.