Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt last week met with Mexican legal authorities to discuss cooperative efforts to combat human trafficking, drug trafficking and other criminal conduct that crosses the international border and affects states like Kansas.
Schmidt and attorneys general from several other states spent four days in Mexico City meeting with Mexican state attorneys general. They also had discussions with Mexico’s federal attorney general Arely Gomez Gonzalez and with Minister Edwardo Medina Mora, a member of Mexico’s Supreme Court.
“We live in a time when criminal conduct too often crosses the international boundary between the United States and Mexico,” Schmidt said. “It is in our interest to coordinate with Mexican authorities our efforts to combat trans-border crime to improve the likelihood of stopping criminal enterprises before their ill effects are felt here in Kansas.”
Schmidt and the other U.S. attorneys general also visited a specialized shelter that assists victims of human trafficking. They met with victims receiving services at the shelter and also with staff members and government officials who operate the facility.
“We continue to look for ways to bolster state efforts to combat human trafficking in Kansas,” Schmidt said. “It was helpful to learn that our counterparts in Mexico struggle with many of the same dynamics and to compare experiences about what has worked well to support victims and what has not.”
The exchange, formally known as the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) Alliance Partnership Binational State Attorney General Exchange, is coordinated with the U.S. State Department. The trainings it sponsors for Mexican legal authorities are one effort to support Mexico’s transition from its old inquisitorial criminal justice system toward a new adversarial court system. That change is required by a 2008 amendment to the Mexican Constitution, and it is underway to varying extents in different Mexican states and in the country’s federal system.
The state attorneys general in both countries agreed to continue their communications on issues of mutual concern. Schmidt said he hopes to help provide training and technical assistance to Mexican attorneys general when they visit the United States in the future and to offer help as they reform their criminal justice system.
The cost of Schmidt’s participation in the exchange was handled by the CWAG Alliance Partnership, and not by Kansas tax dollars.