Today, United States Ambassador to Colombia, Philip S. Goldberg, Colombian Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez, Colombian Minister of Labor Ángel Custodio Cabrera Báez, Colombian Minister of the Interior Daniel Palacios Martínez, and General Director of the Family Welfare Institute of Colombia Lina María Arbeláez Arbeláez, signed the U.S. – Colombia Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership, a historic initiative to combat child trafficking in Colombia. Implementation of this jointly developed five-year partnership will strengthen the efforts of the Colombian government to work with departments, local municipalities, civil society organizations, and other state entities in a sustainable, coordinated fashion to combat child trafficking.
The CPC Partnership signing comes after several months of discussions between representatives of the Government of Colombia and the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office), which is responsible for leading the Department’s global engagement to combat human trafficking.
With the signing of this CPC Partnership, the TIP Office commits to providing up to $10 million in U.S. foreign assistance that will be awarded to nongovernmental and/or international organizations that will collaborate with relevant Colombian government ministries and state entities and the TIP Office to develop an implementation plan that achieves the objectives of the CPC Partnership. The funding also includes an allocated amount for a prevalence study that will inform programmatic interventions under the CPC Partnership. These objectives include increased and improved identification of child trafficking victims, investigation of child trafficking cases, and prosecution and conviction of perpetrators; the establishment of a functioning system of trauma-informed, victim-centered protection services for child trafficking victims; improved and targeted coordination of child trafficking prevention efforts that are tailored to ethnic, indigenous, and cultural differences; and improved coordination between Colombian government, state, and civil society entities to combat child trafficking that ensures sustainability of CPC interventions beyond the life of the Partnership.
The CPC Partnership will focus on four different types of human trafficking that Colombian children and foreign victims are vulnerable to, including child sex trafficking within the tourism sector and live streamed sexual exploitation, child forced begging, and forced recruitment of children into illegal armed groups.
The TIP Office will select implementing partners through a competitive solicitation process. Two Notice of Funding Opportunities, one for the prevalence study and the other for selecting the Partnership’s implementing partners to support programmatic interventions, have been posted and can be found on the TIP Office’s website here: https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-funding-opportunities/
Kari Johnstone, Senior Official of the TIP Office expressed her robust support for the Partnership stating, “The TIP Office is pleased to enter into this Partnership with the Government of Colombia, which has demonstrated a strong commitment to fight child trafficking. We look forward to working together over the next five years to protect child trafficking victims, prevent child trafficking, and hold traffickers accountable.”
Recognizing the significance of today’s signing, Ambassador Goldberg noted, “We are proud to partner with the government of Colombia to protect children from those who would exploit their vulnerability. This is yet another example of the ways in which our close bilateral friendship and alliance makes Colombians and Americans more secure.”
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