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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Local personnel receive training in human trafficking prevention

As part of the workshops and conferences organized by the Families and Children Administration, experts addressed the modalities of human trafficking and the profile of the most common victims.

By The Star Staff

The Families and Children Administration (ADFAN by its Spanish initials) held a series of conferences and workshops entitled “No Way!, Everyone Against Human Trafficking,” where experts on the subject could address the modalities of human trafficking and the profile of the most common victims, officials reported on Monday.

Labor exploitation, sexual exploitation, and organ trafficking continue to be the most common forms of human trafficking in Puerto Rico. Victims are often deceived or coerced, through physical or psychological violence.

“The new modality of traffickers is to take advantage of people who are in vulnerable situations such as disabled people, the homeless, migrants, segments that present traits of depression and despair,” said Saraí Irizarry, a forensic evaluator with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a federal agency with the power to combat such crimes on the island.

Irizarry said children under the age of 18 are the main target of offenders, who seek to gain the trust of children in a family where there is a lack of communication with parents.

“By gaining the trust of minors, they then use all the information they already have about the minor to convince them to start sending them photos,” Irizarry added at the event, where more than 150 social work professionals, psychologists, teachers, and police received training with administrative staff from Mexico City.

Family Secretary Ciení Rodríguez Troche, whose agency includes ADFAN, added that “in addition to making visible and recognizing the situations that citizens go through, it is our duty to identify and implement service programs that address them.”

“Likewise, we recognize that it is imperative that our team of professionals is highly trained to serve people who are going through problems as complex as human trafficking,” she added. “For this reason, topics like these are part of our training curriculum, which are offered on a continuous basis, thus making our staff highly specialized and capable of dealing with the most complex situations.”

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