United States and Colombia Convene First Annual Dialogue Under the Child Protection Compact Partnership

Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Cindy Dyer, Lilia Solano Ramírez, Vice Minister for Social Dialogue, Equality at the Ministry of Interior, and Astrid Eliana Caceres Cardenas, Director of the Colombian Institute of Family Wellbeing convened the first annual U.S.-Colombia Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership Dialogue on September 18 and 19, 2023.

The CPC Partnership is a jointly developed, multi-year plan signed by both governments in April 2022 to strengthen the capacity of the Government of Colombia to eradicate child trafficking and meet the needs of child victims and children at-risk of this crime.  To date, the U.S. government has invested nearly $10 million in foreign assistance through projects and activities implemented via civil society implementing partners in Colombia, and the Colombian government has committed staff and in-kind contributions towards achieving the objectives of the CPC Partnership.

Dialogue participants included government stakeholders with equities in addressing child trafficking, including the forced recruitment or use of children into illegal armed groups.  They were joined by representatives from the CPC civil society implementing partner organizations American Bar Association-Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI), Fundacion Renacer, and Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).  The research institution NORC, which is conducting a comprehensive research study to inform project designs for the CPC implementing partners and Colombian government, was also present.

The Dialogue reflected on progress made in the first year of the CPC Partnership.  Participants discussed ongoing activities, noting their progress as well as the unforeseen challenges towards fulfilling them.  Participants also discussed the CPC performance indicators and their targets, as identified within the U.S.-Colombia Implementation Plan.  These indicators serve as benchmarks for ensuring long-term impact and sustainability of activities under the Partnership.

To complement the conversation during the two-day CPC Dialogue, the Government of Colombia, in coordination with civil society implementing partners, compiled an annual report on the CPC Partnership.  This report summarizes the progress made towards achieving the Partnership’s objectives, recommendations for further assistance, areas for improvement, sustainability efforts, and data on the CPC performance indicators used for measuring progress.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador-at-Large Dyer noted the CPC Partnership facilitates an opportunity for the two governments to leverage the deep experience of civil society implementing partners in Colombia, as well as increase information sharing and collaboration in a unified effort to combat child trafficking.  She also encouraged Colombian authorities to leverage the work of the CPC Partnership, prioritize the prosecution of trafficking crimes, and seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, including labor traffickers and complicit officials.

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