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While the objective of the Argentine Anti-Trafficking Law of 2008 was to criminalize human trafficking and provide victims with rights and services, the implementation of the law has been significantly hindered by a lack of adequate enforcement resources. Through its program in Argentina, AMJA and IAWJ utilized their extensive experience with judicial training by providing local judges and magistrates with targeted courses focusing on relevant human trafficking issues, with a particular emphasis on the 2008 Law and its implementation in the courtroom. This was also done in close collaboration with the Supreme Court of Argentina and its UN partners.
The program has achieved its objectives by holding consultations with judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials; training AMJA trainers on the material; leading judicial education seminars throughout the country, and publishing a collection of articles from eminent jurists and scholars .
Human trafficking is an issue of grave concern globally. In 2008, IAWJ members voted to make it a priority for Association programming. In 2010, the IAWJ was awarded a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of State's Office of Trafficking in Persons to work in partnership with the IAWJ's partner association, the Association of Women Judges in Argentina (Asociacion de Mujeres Jueces de Argentina/AMJA), to provide judicial leadership on human trafficking in Argentina. The program specifically addresses the State Department's recommendation in its 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report that Argentina increase judicial efforts and sustain anti-trafficking training for judges.
Hon. Carmen Argibay, Argentina Supreme Court Justice and former IAWJ president speaks at the AMJA 18th National Meeting on "Gender Violence and Human Trafficking" in Catamarca, Argentina in 2011.
Law in the Books is Only a Step: The Role of Judges in Trafficking Cases
In 2012 alone, the AMJA conducted 53 trainings reaching over 1,500 participants, thus fulfilling the unmet need for judicial training on trafficking in persons and the new anti-trafficking law. The magnitude of success of these trainings far surpasses the expectations of both the IAWJ and AMJA at the inception of the program. It has placed AMJA at the forefront of judicial training on trafficking issues in Argentina.
In October 2011, the AMJA sponsored a roundtable discussion in conjunction with the University of Palermo's Program on Gender and Law on Interjurisdictional Problems in the Justice System Response to Sex Trafficking thereby addressing jurisdictional concerns between state and federal jurisdictions raised by Argentine judges over the new legislation. In November 2012, AMJA, through the IAWJ grant, is publishing a book of articles that addresses these issues. The testimonial character of the collection provides an invaluable "from the trenches" perspective from the very operators of justice engaged in the fight against trafficking in their own tribunals.