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Argentina - Crimes associated with Migration

Trafficking in persons

On April 29, 2008, Law 26364 was enacted regarding the Prevention and Prosecution of Trafficking in Persons and Victim Assistance (Prevención y Sanción de la Trata de Personas y Asistencia de Víctimas).  This regulation adopts the guidelines of the Palermo Protocol to prevent, suppress, and prosecute trafficking in persons, especially women and children, which, at the same time, responds to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime. Prior to this law, trafficking in persons was not classified as a distinct crime under Argentine penal law, but was punished under facilitating prostitution and servitude.

Article 5 of Law 26364 establishes the Non-Punitive principle, clarifying that the victims of human trafficking may not be punished for committing any crime that is a direct result of being the victim of human trafficking. Nor will any of the sanctions or restrictions established in the migration legislation be applicable to them if the infractions are a result of activities performed while victims of this terrible condition. The penal and procedural provisions of Title III of Law 26364 modify the penal code, incorporating articles 145 bis and 145 ter, and establish sentences of three to six years for trafficking in persons who are adults, and six to fifteen years in the case of minors.

Migrant Smuggling

Chapter VI of Title X of the 25871 Migration Act refers to “crimes associated with migration.” The law establishes sanctions against the promotion and illegal trafficking of people. It prohibits the entry and stay in national territory of foreigners with a record of trafficking in weapons, individuals, and/or drugs, or money laundering, or investments in illicit activities, as well as those having submitted false documentation to obtain immigration benefits for him or herself or a third party.

The migration law establishes that he or she who engages or facilitates the illegal smuggling of people from, in transit through or to the Argentina territory will be sentenced to jail or imprisonment for one to six years. The illegal smuggling of individuals is understood as the act to perform, promote, or facilitate the illegal crossing of persons along the national borders with the purpose to obtain, directly or indirectly, a benefit.