1. Are there private
agencies or individuals working in your country engaged in hiring migrant
workers for forwarding to other countries?
If so, are there any laws regulating such agencies or individuals?
Could you describe those laws?
2. Do you know if there
is any illegal or clandestine traffic of irregular migrant workers in your
country, either by individuals, corporations or national or foreign
organizations that conduct such activities?
If so, how did these persons or organizations work to develop the illegal
or clandestine traffic of migrant workers?
Has your country taken measures to prevent, eliminate or punish legally
(civil or criminal) any persons, organizations or companies that organize,
assist, participate or work in the illegal or clandestine traffic of migrant
workers? If so, could you describe
what these measures or penalties consist of?
Could you reveal any court or administrative proceedings carried out for
There are no data on the subject, nor any laws governing it. What is known, according to complaints received, is that the
operation of these agencies is always monitored. Until very recently, the
practice of recruiting workers to send them to other countries was not common in
Brazil. However, with the increased flow of Brazilians to Japan, several
agencies sprang up to establish contact between migrant workers and the Japanese
agency responsible for placing them in that country’s labor market.
There have been numerous complaints in Brazil in the media, including
television, concerning exploitation of immigrant workers (illegal aliens),
generally by their own bosses. They are often threatened with being turned over
to the Federal Police to be deported. This is the case, for example, of the
Chinese and Bolivian workers in clothing factories in Sao Paulo.
However, the amnesty was approved by the government in order to permit
these people to legalize their immigration status and escape this type of
The Law Governing Foreigners, in Article 125, Section VII, provides that
it is against the law to hire or use the services of an illegal alien or one who
is precluded from engaging in gainful employment. The penalty is a fine, and if
the violator is an alien, expulsion. The
same article, in section XII, provides that it is a crime to smuggle in an alien
or hide one. The penalty is prison for one to three years, and if the violator
is an alien, expulsion.
Yes. Recruitment agencies
exist which are sometimes recruiting staff for position outside Canada.
If so, are there any laws regulating such agencies or individuals? Could
you describe those laws?
All federal and provincial labour laws as well as other applicable
Canadian and provincial Human Rights Acts will apply to these agencies and
smuggling rings (mostly involving movement of migrants into the United States)
are uncovered from time to time. Release
of information concerning the working methods of such criminal organizations
could prejudice law enforcement activity.
the need to deter alien smuggling or complicity in alien smuggling activity
Canada has made such activities offenses punishable by imprisonment and/or fines
(sections 94.1, 94.2, and 94.4 of the Immigration
Sections 94.1, 94.2, and 94.4 are
set out below:
Organizing Entry into Canada - Every person who knowingly organizes, induces,
aids or abets or attempts to organize, induce, aid or abet the coming into
Canada of a person who is not in possession of a valid and subsisting visa,
passport or travel document where one is required by this Act or the regulations
is guilty of an offence and liable
on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand
dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both; or
on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.
Idem - Every person who knowingly organizes, induces, aids or abets or attempts
to organize, induce aid or abet the coming into Canada of a group of ten or more
persons who are not in possession of valid and subsisting visas, passports or
travel documents where such visas, passports or travel documents are required by
the Act of the regulations is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction
on indictment to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both.
Disembarking of Persons at Sea - Every person who, being the master or a member
of the crew of a vehicle used for transportation by sea, disembarks or allows
the disembarkation of, or attempts to allow the disembarkation of, a person or
group of persons to come into Canada in contravention of this Act or the
regulation is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction or indictment to
a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term
not exceeding ten years, or to both.
It should be noted that although it is common to speak of aiding and
abetting, the two concepts are not the same and either activity constitutes a
sufficient basis for liability. Abetting
is defined as instigating, promoting or procuring a crime to be committed, while
aiding means assisting or helping without the necessarily encouraging or
instigating the act.
The Immigration Act also provides for the seizure of a vehicle used in
connection with the commission of an offence under sections 94.1, 94.2 or 94.4
(subsection 102.01(1) of the Immigration
Act). There is also
provision for the seizure of anything that will afford evidence of an offence committed under sections 94.1, 94.2 or 94.4
(subsection 102.01(1) of the Immigration
Subsections 102.01 (1) and (2) are set out below:
Seizure of Vehicle - An immigration officer or a peace officer may, where the
officer believes on reasonable grounds that a vehicle was used in any manner in
connection with the commission of an offence under section 94.1, 94.2 or
94.4, seize the vehicle as forfeit.
Seizure of Evidence - An immigration officer or a peace officer may, where the
officer believed on reasonable grounds that an offence has been committed under
section 94.1, 94.2 or 94.4, seize any thing that the office believes on
reasonable grounds will afford evidence in respect of the contravention.
terms of more general provisions, paragraph 94(1) (m) of the Immigration Act provides that every person is guilty of an offence
who knowingly induces, aids or abets or attempts to induce, aid or abet any
person to contravene any provision of the Act or regulations.
Every person who is guilty of an offence under subsection 94(1) is liable
on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term of not exceeding two years or to both, or on summary
conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a
term not exceeding six months or both (Subsection 94(2) of the Immigration
It should be noted that given these provisions in the Immigration Act,
the Criminal Code of Canada does not
contain any provisions dealing with trafficking or smuggling of aliens. Canada
is currently an active participant in negotiations for an Optional Protocol on
Migrant Smuggling, supplementary to the Draft UN Convention on Transnational
According with the archives of the Administrative Departament of Security
(Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad) -DAS- the existence of these kinds of
agencies is unknown. The same was
said by the Labour Ministery.
to the DAS there are no such studies.
was not answered.
We are unable to furnish you with response to this question.
have been cases in which these kind of agencies act illegally.
Regarding the legislation, in the Migrant Law, article 37, there are
crimes, felonies and penalties; although it is considered to be soft and the
justice administration system has made its application difficult.
there is illegal traffic.
recruiting poor people, who are aware that the situation is illegal but accept
to be transported especially to the United States, in an illegal and subhuman
way, paying great sums of money knowing that they can or cannot get to their
destiny, or even die in the way, without caring, they get the required money
getting in debt, selling what they have, to give to the migrant dealers,
apparently they leave the country in a legal way, with all their papers in
order, to go to the Centro American countries from where they go to the United
States, their destiny, going through many irregularities and difficulties, like
getting false visas.
migrant dealers are clandestine centers, well organized with contacts and
properties in the transit countries.
are general laws for the moment, not regulated and its consideration is based on
the seriousness or on the particular situation in which it has been violated.
Guatemalan legislation prohibits the exercise of private placement
agencies, as stipulated in article 5 of the Government Agreement from December
23, 1957, relating to the creation of the Department of National Employment
Service and the International Labor Convention, number 96 on "Agencias
de Retribuidas de Colocación," ratified by Guatemala.
Nevertheless, article 34 of the Labor Code regulates the role of a
recruiting or business agent, cited in response number 15 to the present
We have a study titled "Trafficking of Migrants, Case Study:
Guatemala," prepared by the General Directorate of Migration of Guatemala [Dirección General de Migración de Guatemala] and the International
Migrant Organization, with the financial support of the Government of Canada,
carried out in August 1998. The
report established that a clear and unanimous definition with respect to the
trafficking of migrants does not exist; in this particular instance, this
phenomena was analyzed under the perspective and definitions used by the IMO,
which involve four characteristics:
a trafficker or one who facilitates crossing the border.
the payment to a trafficker by the migrant or someone in their name.
c. this activity is illegal, or
consists of various illegal acts in order to be fulfilled.
there exists the migrant's act of voluntarily resorting to the trafficker.
the previous context, Guatemala consists of a country of transit, destination,
discharge and return of trafficked migrants.
The problem is even more complicated in the case of Central American
migrants who can come to Guatemala and remain there for a certain period of time
in total conformity with migrant laws in force among Central American countries,
but they subsequently become undocumented migrants in an irregular situation.
A large part of them enter through contact with international networks or
individual traffickers in order to reach their final destination.
the territory of Guatemala, a diversity of regional migrants and those from
outside the region are trafficked, guided by organized traffickers, for the
purpose of entering the United States, Canada and a lesser number to Mexico.
A large quantity of migrants that opt for illegal visas are involved with
organizations or individual traffickers who offer them entry to their countries
of destination in an irregular/undocumented manner for a fee.
Additionally, the trafficking problem is tied to other crimes, such as
drug trafficking and prostitution, which can seriously compromise the rights and
dignity of the trafficked migrants, to the extent of risking their own lives.
The same factors that complicate attempts to detain migrants arise
regarding the detention of the traffickers.
As part of the policy enforced by the State of Guatemala through the
General Directorate of Migration [Dirección General de Migración], there is coordination from the
National Civil Police, with whom they share information which permits the
neutralization of migrant trafficking activities. The level of specialization reached by the organizations and
individuals that participate in this form of trafficking, and the insufficient
resources on the part of the government authorities, especially with respect to
the data base which provides timely information, together with the fact that the
migrants will not identify the traffickers, makes it almost impossible to detain
them and identify their characteristics.
important aspect worth mentioning is that within the legal framework of the
State of Guatemala, the Code on Criminal Procedure as well as the Law of
Migration and Foreigners [Ley de Migración
y Extranjería], the trafficking of migrants is not typified as a crime.
Nevertheless, a new law of migration is under study by the Congress of
the Republic, a law which was structured in order to offer substantial juridical
support to combat the trafficking of undocumented persons.
The lack of such legislation prevents the sanction or detention of those
persons identified as traffickers of migrants.
Additionally, in the case of trafficking foreigners, expulsion is
exercised only when it is proven that the person in the particular case did not
comply with the existing norms within the Law of Migration and Foreigners [Ley
de Migración y Extranjería].
Law of Migration and Foreigners [Ley de
Migración y Extranjería] establishes two manners for exercising the
control of entry of migrants: turning them away at the border and expulsion.
Additionally, the use of false documents and entry through facilitators'
posts are sanctioned through the cancellation of their status as migrants,
payment of a fine and the expulsion to their national territory.
general, noncompliance with whichever norm established in the Law of Migration
and Foreigners [Ley de Migración y
Extranjería] will be sanctioned against the foreigner through the
cancellation of their status, payment of a fine and expulsion.
In the case of a national, pecuniary punishments are imposed, and, in the
case of an agent or official, the punishment is a verbal or written admonition,
suspension of their post and destitution. Companies
and businesses which transport migrants by airplanes, boats or across rivers,
which carry migrants who do not have the current migrant documentation in force,
who facilitate their crossing should pay fines from 500 to 1000 quetzales
(approximately US$85 to $170) without prejudice to the non admittance of the
foreigner and the business' obligation to return the foreigner to their place of
origin. The resolutions of the
Directorate of Migrations may be challenged by the remedies provided in the law
for Contetious Administrative Proceedings
(Ley de lo Contencioso Administrativo( these remedies are (Recurso de
Revocatoria, Recurso de Reposición, y Recurso de Aclaración y Ampliación.
Guatemala, migrant authorities are faced with the serious problem of having the
law complied with, which is tied to the lack of resources of all types
(technological, human, capacity, etc.), which includes the inability to make use
of the necessary number of functionaries for the purpose of providing adequate
control and supervision of migration investigations.
There are no private or governmental agencies.
With respect to individuals, there are the so-called “coyotes” who
guide them to the United States, and many of them make agreements to take them
to centers of work in parts of the United States.
There are networks of traffickers of persons, commonly called
“coyotes,” which, for considerable sums of money, take them to a destination
(most commonly the United States).
Yes. In 1994, the State of
Honduras was one of the first countries in the Central American region to
criminalize the trafficking of persons, having reformed Article 195 of the
Criminal Code by means of Legislative Decree Nº 120-94, which has been applied
as a corrective measure against various foreigners and nationals engaged in this
In Mexico there exist some private or particular agencies dedicated to
the recruitment of migrant workers. Nevertheless,
the Secretariat of Labor and Social Security [Secretaría
del Trabajo y Previsión Social], through the General Director of
Employment, is the agency of the Federal Government which regularly conducts
such recruitment, the grounds for which are found within the Federal Labor Law.
135 of the Regulation of the General Population Law [Reglamento de la Ley General de Población] establishes that
"collective contracting agencies for the migration of Mexican workers can
only be established in a country previously authorized by the Secretariat,
without prejudice to the compliance with that established through other
applicable legal ordinances."
On some occasions, Mexican authorities have detected prosecutors as well
as groups and organizations that are dedicated to the illegal trafficking of
migrant workers, especially at the southern border of Mexico.
These people or groups generally operate through clandestine offices that
advertise through various means of communication, such as the local daily
newspapers, and through their own undocumented migrant workers.
Unfortunately, when those persons find out that the authorities have
detected them, they quickly disappear.
Mexico to the United State, particular individuals who traffic migrants are
known as "polleros" or
"coyotes," and they are the
ones from which the migrants have to solicit services in exchange for payment in
order successfully cross the border into the United States as a result of the
actual policies of North American immigration that have caused migrants to
attempt to cross the border through risky places.
on the testimonies received by the National Commission for Human Rights,
evidence has been collected concerning the manner in which they operate:
The migrants can be contacted by the "polleros"
from their point of origin or bordering States.
They are able to get the migrants across the border at locations close to
urban areas or far from them.
The "polleros" are
near the point of being drugged when they cross the border, they make the
migrants cross at different stages. Some
migrants will be taken to a certain point where others pick them up. They agree to a price which must be paid in advance and
subsequently the traffickers rob the migrants, stealing everything they brought
with them to take across the border.
When they cross the river, the desert or the mountains, and as they
generally travel in groups, individuals who physically do not have the strength
to cross are abandoned on the road by the traffickers.
This places the physical integrity and lives of the migrants at risk.
In other cases, they offer them false papers in exchange for a certain
price; in these types of arrangments they are sometimes accompanied and in other
cases they let them cross alone.
example, some organizations discovered, through different means of
communication, the illegal trafficking and exploitation of deaf persons during
July 1997. These deaf individuals were tricked when they were offered a trip to
the United States and were later forced to sell trinkets in the streets of
Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other cities within the country in exchange
for miserable wages and terrible living conditions.
trafficker instructs the undocumented persons not to bring charges against them
if they should be detained. This
makes it even more difficult to provide facts against them.
persons, when they are detained for the first time, do not make accusations
against the "pollero," be it
for reasons of being afraid of losing their contact which helps them with their
subsequent attempts to gain entry or for fear of being assaulted or attacked by
them when they try to return to Mexico. Additionally, when they are detained in the process of
illegally crossing, the proof gathered against the trafficker is usually weak
and consequently the fine or sanction that could be applied against them for
violating that established in article 138 of the General Population Law [Ley
General de Población] is significantly diminished.
The Government of Mexico has worked to enrich its migrant policies with
concrete actions which express their humanitarian character.
In that sense, reforms and additions were made to the General Population
Law [Ley General de Población], the
principle legal instrument in the area of migration (under the Political
Constitution of the United States of Mexico), which grant the highest level of
protection to the human rights of migrants, gives the highest juridical security
within the processing of migration proceedings, favor family integration, and
strictly combat the crimes tied to the trafficking of human beings.
the framework of these reforms are included one concerning the sanctioning of
the acts related to the trafficking of undocumented persons.
The crime of trafficking of persons was originally sanctioned with a sentence of
2 to 10 years in prison; in reality, the penalty for this crime is 6 to 12 years
of prison without parole since it is considered a serious crime.
Additionally, the reform contemplates a serious punishment (9 to 18 years
of prison) for those who participate in the commission of the crime and are
public servants, and when they put the life and health of the migrants at risk
or they involve minors. Furthermore,
the crime of trafficking of persons
was included in the Federal Law against Organized Crime [Ley
Federal contra la Delincuencia Organizada].
the other hand, Mexico has promoted the Regional Conference on Migration [Conferencia
Regional sobre Migración], also known as Grupo
Puebla, which brings together the vice ministers of the governments of
Canada, the United States, Central America and Mexico.
To date, three regional conferences have taken place; the First Regional
Conference on Migration took place March 1996, in Puebla, Mexico; the Second
took place March 1997, in Panama; and the Third recently took place February
1998, in Ottawa, Canada. In
relation to the topic of this Report, within the Plan of Action suggested in the
Second Conference, one of the principle objectives raised was to carry out
activities for the purpose of preventing and combating the trafficking of
migrants. As a result, the Seminar
on the Trafficking of Migrants was held in Managua, Nicaragua, in January 1998.
During this seminar, agreements originated such as that of including the
crime of trafficking of migrants within the criminal legislation of all the
countries of the region (not applicable to Mexico because this crime is already
typified); institutionalizing the regional mechanism of the regular exchange of
information concerning activities linked to the crime of trafficking persons,
and promoting international cooperation through technical and financial
assistance among the countries of the region.
Arrest and deport offender back to country.
Trinidad and Tobago
There are private agencies and individuals in this country engaged in
hiring migrant workers for forwarding to other countries.
There are laws regulating such agencies and individuals.
There is no illegal nor clandestine traffic of irregular migrant workers
in this country.
Yes, there are private agencies and individuals involved in hiring
migrant workers in the United States for work in other countries. Aforementioned
immigration and labor laws govern situations within the United States. As stated
previously, the United States does not monitor or regulate out‑migration.
to the nature and availability of agricultural work in the United States, the
Immigration and Naturalization Service has uncovered numerous schemes by
unscrupulous employers to use illegal, or irregular, migrant workers to their
benefit. Moreover, undocumented workers are attracted to agricultural work
because of relatively low skill requirements and remote rural locations.
Nearly every day, U.S. Immigration investigators uncover organized
illegal migrant trafficking schemes in all parts of the United States.
Individuals and organizations carry out organized migrant trafficking.
Recruitment of illegal migrant participants is often done by other illegal
migrants within their U.S. or foreign communities. Some organized migrant
smuggling units even advertise their services in foreign countries.
The United States is always actively involved in preventing illegal
migration of all types. Extensive
use is made of the wide variety of legal tools available to combat illegal
migrant trafficking. Some specific criminal charges that invoke significant
financial and legal penalties are: Bringing/Harboring certain aliens for
financial gain (8 USC 1324), and
Aiding/Assisting certain aliens for financial gain (8
USC 1320. In addition, often some general criminal violations are charged to
increase the possible penalties. These include Aiding and abetting (18 USC 2), Accessory after the fact (18 USC 3), Concealment (18
USC I, Conspiracy (18 USC 371), and
a variety of other criminal violations depending on the situation. The United
States actively pursues alien smugglers and employers who knowingly hire
undocumented workers, and both are subject to a variety of criminal or civil
penalties under U.S. law. Any person convicted of alien smuggling can be fined,
imprisoned from five to 20 years, or, when the smuggling results in death, be
sentenced to capital punishment or a life sentence. In December 1998, the United
States broke up the largest alien smuggling operation in U.S. history, arresting
and indicting more than 20 people. Their prosecution continues.
are no private agencies or individuals engages in the recruitment of migrant
workers workers to be sent to other states.
private agencies that locate people, there is no internal law that regulates it,
except for the Organic Labor Law. Nonetheless, the “Ley Aprobatoria del
Instrumento Andino de Migracion Laboral” establishes penalties for the
recruiters and intermediaries of illegal immigrant workers and for Venezuelan
The National Government has no knowledge of networks
dedicated to the illegal or clandestine trafficking of migrant workers in an
irregular way. Although it is true that these kind of situations have existed in
the past, these kind of irregularities did not occur on a large scale and today
the irregular workers enter the country by their own means.
Venezuelan State, through the “Instrumento Andino de Migracion Laboral
(Decision 116)” has committed itself to establish sanctions, in order to
prevent, eliminate and/or legally punish those people and organizations that
operate in the illegal or clandestine trafficking of migrant workers;
nonetheless, this committment has not yet been fulfilled because the
corresponding penalties to these organizations have not been incorporated in the
national legal system.
Nevertheless, there are penalties
established in laws that are being studied, namely, the “Ley Organica de
Migracion y Regulacion de Extranjeros”, article 45, and the “Ley Organica
contra la Delicuencia Organizada” that in article 3(8,9 and 10) establishes:
“The following offenses are considered as permaining to organized crimes:
illicit trafficking of foreigners and the trafficking of person”.
“Whoever illegally trafficks with foreigners who want to be admitted in
Venezuela, violating rules or falsifying the admission documents established in
the “Ley de Extranjeros y su Reglamento” or in the regulations that are
issued by the Executive power, or obtain their entrance through promise of or
payment or of any other profit for the public officer in charge, will be
punished by a sentence between 4 to 6 years of prison”.
Currently, we only have the
Criminal Code and the “Ley Organica de Salvaguarda del Patrimonio Publico.”
1. Have there been any
cases in your country in the last ten years where immigrant workers or their
family members have been the targets of violence, abuse or mistreatment, either
by employers or other persons, groups or organizations?
What are the inspection and penalty mechanisms to prevent and condemn
such violence and abuse? How many
court or administrative proceedings have been started for this reason?
Could you discuss any?
2. Have there been any
cases in your country in the last ten years of abuse of authority, violence,
torture or death of immigrant workers and their family members as a consequence
of the activities of the police or migration officials?
Have any court or administrative proceedings been started or completed in
this area, and what have the results been?
3. Do you have any
background information on cases in which migrant workers from your country or
members of their families have been the targets of violence, abuse,
mistreatment, torture or death either by employers, groups or organizations,
immigration police or other state employees in the countries of employment or
transit? Could you give any cases?
Answered in previous questions and in the next one. Even though there is
no quantitative data it can be affirmed that nearly 50.000 foreigners will
benefit by the recent amnesty decree, which process is still pending.
There is no information concerning this issue. Nevertheless, there have
been complaints, although not very frequent, of exploitation from police
officers who asked for money for not promoting deportation of clandestine
There is no information on this issue.
Stay in the national territory after the authorized deadline stated by
the federal police.
Practice against the Foreigners Law.
Commission of crimes, being the last a cause of expulsion.
Yes. Please refer to question 14,
17 and 21 for details on the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian
Human Rights Act and the Canadian
Labour Code. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, criminal acts will be prosecuted regardless
of the status of the victim. No statistics are kept concerning the immigration
status of victims of crime.
regard to temporary workers such cases are not known.
The “Dirección Nacional de Atención y Trámite de quejas de la
defensoría del pueblo” does not have in its files any register of cases or
complaints filed by foreign illegal workers about violence, abuse or
mistreatment, or that they received a less favorable treatment than national
According to “DAS” and the “Defensoría del Pueblo”, there have
been no cases.
Yes, there are records of violence, abuse, mistreatment, torture and/or
death of Colombian workers. Nevertheless it is not easy to mention particular
cases in this kind of interrogation.
We are unable to furnish you with responses to this questions.
There have not been any similar cases as described in the question.
There is not.
Yes there have been abuse, violence and mistreatment cases, in transit
countries, in which Ecuadorian immigrants have been detained my the Migratory
Police and incomunicated for long periods and then deported.
No (ii) nothing (iii) the Judicial System (iv) Nothing
No (ii) Nothing (iii) Not applicable.
The competent authorities do not poses a record for these kind of cases.
Nevertheless, when one of these situations arises, it is the Inspection of Labor
[Inspección de Trabajo], subject to
the Ministry of Labor and Social Services, which is competent to verify these
types of facts, starting with making a complaint against the employer before the
respective labor and social service judges in order to iniciate the
corresponding judicial punishment.
Statistical records concerning these issues are not
The consulting bodies (Public Ministry, Ombudsman for Human Rights and
Judicial branch) indicated that they do not have a record concerning a situation
of this type. The Ministry of Labor
and Social Security also does not poses official information concerning some of
the extremes expressed in this question.
As in every part of the world, many times immigrant’s rights are
violated by some persons, enterprises or authorities; in Honduras the
“Direccion General de poblacion y Politica Migratoria” has no case in file,
but information about this matter can be requested to the “Comisionado
Nacional para los Derechos Humanos” in Honduras or to the “Fiscalia de
Proteccion de los Derechos Humanos “ dependant of the “Ministerio Publico.”
The “Direccion General de Poblacion y Policia Migratoria” has not
registered specific cases, but the fourth statistic analysis about deported
hondurians from the United States, shows that 12.26% of the people deported
between january, 1997 and february 28, 1998 complained about mistreatment, abuse
and violence in the capture and transportation to the prisons.
information regarding violation of the immigrants rights, can be requested to
the “Casa del Migrante” in Tijuana, Mexico, where there are thousands of
registered and documented cases under the name of “Testimonios de violacion a
los Derechos Humanos de los Migrantes.”
The acts of abuses, violations or maltreatment committed against any
person constitute illicit acts which are typified as crimes in the existing
Penal Code and within each of the Federal Entities, according to which if an
immigrant worker or their family members receive this form of treatment from
their employer, group or any other person, they have the ability to turn to the
Prosecutor General of the State, in which the illicit act was committed, in
order to demand the punishment of the accused.
They can also demand the corresponding reparations for damages, which
originated in the commission of the crime, owed to them.
National Commission of Human Rights worked on the Report on the Violation of
Human Rights of Immigrants, Frontera Sur, published in 1996 and reprinted in
1997, in which the situation concerning immigrants that enter through the
southern border of Mexico was analyzed. The
Report also directed suggestions to a number of authorities to make the
protection of the fundamental rights of immigrants within their jurisdiction
more efficient, without giving importance to their status as migrants.
To this date, many of the suggestions have been attended to.
Of the total complaints received by the National Commission of Human
Rights, there have been some in which complainants have been migrants --not
necessarily a migrant worker--, and the following types of facts, presumably
violations of human rights, have been generated:
of the frequency with which these violations are brought to our attention, it is
impossible to precisely say how many there are. One must also take into
consideration the vulnerability of these migrant workers, and the fact that the
violations they are the victims of are not always reported or, if they are
reported, there are times when the proceedings are interrupted, be they
administrative, civil or criminal. Such
proceedings are interrupted due to the fact that the migrants are in a
particular place for only a temporary period of time, which makes it difficult
to locate them once they have moved.
of the positive aspects for when there has been a violation of human rights
against migrant workers is the ability to make a complaint. The cases reported by government offices do not always
contain the total number of such cases; nevertheless, it permits the state to
appreciate and determine the issues that it can begin to handle and fight
against. Furthermore, in accordance
with the competence of the National Commission of Human Rights, mechanisms for
the promotion, diffusion, protection and proposals from the Mexican Government
can be identified and established with respect to giving the greatest amount of
attention to this problem.
January to December, 1997, 56 complaints were filed before the National
Commission in which the persons injured were nationals of this country or from
Central and South American countries. These
victims also alleged human rights violations committed by Mexican authorities,
causing injury to Central and South American citizens who entered national
territory undocumented or, even though they applied for it, their status as
migrants was not regularized; of these, 25 resulted in facts that this National
Organization was unable to recognize in accordance with the authority
established in their regulations.
the case of a violation of human rights, the person who makes the complaint at
no moment goes unprotected due to the fact that the complaint can be brought by
anyone, not necessarily the victim, through whichever means, even by phone, 24
hours a day, 365 days a year. Additionally, in emergency situations, the cases
receive immediate attention from the employees of the National Commission.
a complaint is presented concerning a human rights violation against an
individual or when it is opened by the National Commission, at its own
initiative, an investigation of the facts that motivated the case is carried out
and a resolution with respect to the same is produced, which in accordance with
the law could result in a Recommendation, a document of "No
Responsibility," or in a complaint by means of settlement or solution
procedures during the necessary proceedings, in addition to the procedures
established in article 123 of the Regulations of the National Commission.
There is knowledge of the abuses and maltreatment committed against
Mexican workers in the United States of America, as well as in particular cases
within the apple industry in the State of Washington, and in the avocado
industry in the State of Maine, both within the United States.
There have been no cases in this country in the last ten years where
immigrant workers or their family members had been targets of violence, abuse or
mistreatment, neither by employers nor other persons, groups or organizations.
There have been no cases in this country in the last ten years of abuse
of authority, violence, torture or death of immigrant workers nor their family
members as a consequence of the activities of the police or immigrant officials.
unfortunately, cases involving serious abuse of migrant workers do occur. These
cases, as noted above (#17), may take many forms. Organized hate groups that may
be involved in such acts include Neo‑Nazi Skinheads, the Aryan Nation, the
Ku Klux Klan, various militias, the National Alliance, and the White Aryan
Resistance. Employers and smuggling operations may also be involved in such
cases. When investigations uncover such abuse, federal agencies vigorously
pursue efforts to bring the offending party to justice and to make the victim(s)
whole. INS involvement is mostly limited to undocumented illegal workers.
Unscrupulous employers have engaged undocumented workers for the period of time
necessary to harvest their crop. They then contact the INS to report that there
are people working without authorization to avoid paying migrant salaries.
Federal statutes criminalize various forms of worker exploitation:
Involuntary Servitude and other federal criminal civil rights violations;
Collection of Extension of Credit by Extortionate Means; Alien Smuggling or
Harboring; Fair Labor Standards Act violations; and Seasonal Worker Protection
Act violations. Trial lawyers from the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights
Division and the various United States Attorneys' Offices routinely prosecute
these matters. While we do not have specific figures on the number of court or
administrative proceedings that have been initiated because of these sorts of
abuses, the following examples indicate the kinds of abuses that have been
uncovered and pursued:
In 1995, federal authorities investigated and prosecuted a matter
involving the smuggling of over 70 Thai women and men into the United States who
were enslaved In El Monte, California for up to seven years. These individuals
were held in a guarded compound and forced to work. The sweatshop owners were
prosecuted for violations of Involuntary Servitude, Conspiracy, and Immigration
In 1997, three men serving as crew leaders at a labor camp in South
Carolina pled guilty to recruiting and forcing migrant laborers to work against
their will. The leaders of this enterprise pled guilty to a number of Civil
Rights, Extortion, Immigration and Labor charges, and were sentenced to 15 years
In May of 1997, after an extensive investigation conducted jointly with
the DOJ/1NS, Miguel Angel Floresplead guilty in South Carolina to 1 count of
conspiracy, 7 counts of smuggling undocumented aliens, 6 counts of indentured
servitude, 6 counts of extortion, and 2 counts of violating labor statutes. Mr.
Flores received a significant prison sentence for his criminal misconduct.
Subsequently, several of his co‑conspirators were also found guilty of
criminal offenses and sentenced to prison.
In another case, again following a joint DOL‑DOJ/INS investigation,
3 men were convicted on charges of conspiracy, smuggling and harboring
undocumented workers, and violating labor law protections. The 3 men, Ricardo
Correa, Ramiro Garcia‑Hernandez, and Silvano Garcia‑Hernandez,
recruited the workers at the Mexican border, and drove the workers to the State
of Idaho to work for them.
In 1998, 18 defendants pled guilty to slavery conspiracy charges based on
a scheme in which they held dozens of hearing impaired Mexican nationals in
slavery, forcing them to peddle trinkets on the streets of New York, Los
Angeles, and Chicago. The ringleader of this conspiracy was sentenced to serve
14 years incarceration and, along with her co‑defendants, was ordered to
pay over $2.5 million in restitution.
similar examples exist of federal criminal civil rights and labor standards
investigations uncovering serious abuses and leading to criminal prosecutions
On November 20, 1994 the United States ratified (thereby bringing into
full force within the U.S.) the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Please refer to response in #18 above (2 about xenophobia)
No. The National
Constitution of Venezuela (Chapter III, art. 60) states individual rights in
equal conditions for national and foreigners, which should be protected by the
competent authorities, in order to avoid and condemn violent acts and abuses
against nationals and foreigners.
No. There are no statistics
or numbers that indicate authorities’ abuses, violence, torture and/or death
of immigrant workers or their family members in Venezuela.