UN special rapporteur on human trafficking concludes Cuba visit

Dr. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro (photo at top), a United Nations Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, conducted a five-day visit to Cuba, which began on Monday, at the invitation of Cuba’s government, to examine human trafficking and prevention efforts on the island.

“Combating human trafficking was one of the dialogues begun between the United States and Cuba under the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Havana,” as the Miami Herald noted last week.

Cuban state media reported that Dr. Giammarinaro met with Esteban Lazo, president of Cuba’s National Assembly, and other representatives from the Assembly, as well as with representatives from Cuba’s Ministry of Justice, with whom she discussed Cuba’s new “zero tolerance” approach to preventing human trafficking. Cuba’s government submitted the policy to Dr. Giammarinaro prior to her visit.

María Esther Reus, Cuba’s Minister of Justice, said in a press conference that Cuba has formed an interagency commission to implement and track the progress of its anti-human-trafficking policy, which will also cooperate with community leaders, reports CubaDebate. Since arriving in Cuba, Dr. Giammarinaro has also met with representatives from Cuba’s Commission on Youth, Childhood, and Women’s Equal Rights.

As Dr. Giammarinaro’s visit concluded on Friday, she held a press conference in Havana. According to one account offered by WPLG Local 10 News, a Miami-based broadcast station, Dr. Giammarinaro said that Cuba’s legal framework for preventing and prosecuting human trafficking leaves room for improvement, including the need for a legal definition of human trafficking. Her findings and recommendations will be featured in an official report to the UN Human Rights Council next year.

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