Officers from the Department of Homeland Security are working with Colombian National Police to intercept Human Traffickers in between the Colombia and Panama border before they can lead migrants north. In Colombia, migration without documentation is not illegal but it is illegal to exploit migrants by charging them to make the journey out of Colombia. Over the last fiscal year, there have been over 42 arrests of alleged human smugglers and 210 suspects in narcotics-related crimes. HSI and local law enforcement also seized over 16,400 pounds of cocaine in Colombia.
NBC News embedded with Homeland Security Investigations in Colombia as it teamed with local law enforcement to arrest the alleged leaders of an international smuggling network. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. Traffickers often look for people who are desperate and in need of money. They might also target lonely individuals who are more likely to trust strangers and be influenced by them. They often approach their victims at bus stops, train stations, or the street. In exchange for work, they may offer food or shelter.