Combatting Human Trafficking in Panama, Costa Rica, and Colombia

Funded by the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP) of Global Affairs Canada (GAC), JES is currently implementing the "Strengthening Institutional Capacity to Combat Human Trafficking, with a Focus on Corruption, Money Laundering and Transnational Organized Crime" project in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia. A foundational element of the project is to raise awareness of the impact of the crime on vulnerable populations and gender-responsive and trauma-informed approaches to investigations and criminal trials.

Our project also aims to reduce impunity for perpetrators and transnational criminal networks, and provide greater protection and justice for victims of human trafficking—particularly women and girls.

Costa Rica
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February 2021 - January 2024

To meet our goals, JES is working in close partnership with Panamanian justice and law enforcement agencies, including the Judiciary, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (“Ministerio Publico” or MP) , the National Police, and the Forensic Science Institute, public defenders as well as several civil society organizations.

Our instructors are incorporating proven methodologies for capacity building and embedding gender-responsive, human rights- and problem-based learning tools in our curriculum. This blended learning methodology includes in-person and online instruction to ensure that courses are adaptable and applicable to each country’s specific needs.

Finally, our lessons will seek to address the lingering bias against women, girls, and LGBTQI+ populations held by many justice professionals in the region. Instructors are working within a culturally sensitive framework to sensitize participants on the vulnerability of these groups to human trafficking, the risks of revictimization, and the need for collaboration of victims in the successful prosecution of crime.


  • Improve technical capacity and gender-responsive practices in the investigation of human trafficking cases in Panama
  • Improve capacity to prosecute and convict perpetrators of human trafficking in a gender-responsive manner in Panama
  • Strengthen gender-responsive mechanisms and transnational cooperation to combat human trafficking, as it affects women and girls, in Panama, Colombia, and Costa Rica