The United States and Cuba held a series of meetings this week in Washington, D.C. to coordinate their efforts to combat trafficking in persons.

On February 13, the Department of State hosted a bilateral meeting on efforts to prosecute traffickers, protect victims, and prevent trafficking.

The U.S. delegation was led by Joel Maybury, Acting Principal Deputy Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Representatives from the Departments of Justice, Labor, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services also participated. The Cuban delegation was led by Deputy Director General Johana Tablada de la Torre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate General for the United States and included officials from various Cuban agencies.

On February 14, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hosted a technical exchange on trafficking in persons, one of the eight working-level exchanges under the U.S.-Cuba Law Enforcement Dialogue.

In a statement, the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the two countries discussed the matter in Washington DC in a multisectoral meeting, which allowed updating the advances, experiences, and challenges of prevention and confronting the scourge.

The Cuban delegation explained to the U.S. side the steps taken in the fight against the problem; among them, the establishment of the National Action Plan 2017-2020 for the Prevention and Confrontation of Human Trafficking and the Protection of Victims, and a Commission responsible for implementing it.

Participants discussed best practices on investigations and prosecutions, human trafficking trends in the region, and potential areas of coordination to fight the scourge of trafficking, which threatens national security and public health and safety in both countries.

The United States and Cuba last met to discuss trafficking in persons in January 2017.