The government did not report prosecution efforts; the lack of comprehensive data on investigations, prosecutions, and convictions made overall law enforcement efforts against human trafficking difficult to assess. Venezuelan law criminalizes some forms of human trafficking, specifically trafficking of women and girls, through a 2007 law on women’s rights that prescribes penalties of 15 to 30 years imprisonment. The law requires force, fraud, or coercion for all forms of sex trafficking, including that of children, whereas under international law, the prostitution of children is a crime without the use of those coercive means. The law also addresses human trafficking by organized criminal groups in its law on organized crime, which prescribes 20 to 30 years imprisonment for human trafficking carried out by a member of an organized criminal group of three or more individuals, but fails to prohibit trafficking of men. The penalties for these trafficking crimes are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. During the reporting period, the legislature did not pass a draft anti-trafficking law, first introduced in 2010.
Venezuelan authorities did not report the total number of trafficking cases investigated or individuals prosecuted or convicted for human trafficking in 2016. According to government websites and media reports, officials pursued at least five sex trafficking investigations during the year. According to press reports, at least six individuals were indicted for trafficking crimes, including three traffickers who faced possible extradition. The government publicly reported the organized crime office (ONDOFT) trained security personnel on victim identification and assistance; however, officials reported lack of funding made trainings difficult to execute. Press reports indicated Venezuela worked closely with INTERPOL on trafficking investigations during the year. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government employees complicit in human trafficking.