Cablegate: Ecuador Continues to Move Forward On Trafficking

Published: Wed 8 Sep 2004 04:30 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. (U) Summary. Ecuador continues to push ahead in its fight
against trafficking in persons (TIP). The Embassy TIP
working group met on September 1 to review GOE and USG
efforts to combat TIP since the August 18th Presidential
decree (Reftel). Raids on brothels continued, and the GOE is
giving victims services priority in its national TIP
planning. Government Minister Raul Baca continues to
coordinate GOE efforts through an active GOE anti-TIP working
group and told the Ambassador of a new TIP victims shelter
and the possible opening of another one in the capital.
Several penal code reform bills to punish traffickers have
been drafted, and a harmonized bill drafted by the Government
will be submitted to Congress shortly. End Summary.
2. (SBU) At a breakfast with the Ambassador on August 24,
Baca, GOE's TIP Coordinator, expressed his strong personal
commitment to combat TIP. Baca is attempting to harmonize
several bills in Congress which penalize TIP, child
pornography, and violence against women. He noted positive
press play on the problems and GOE efforts to combat it. The
media across the country have written numerous articles on
child pornography and commercial sexual exploitation, and
civil society has mobilized marches to demand strong GOE
efforts to protect victims
3. (SBU) Baca was concerned about providing services to
victims and mentioned a new victims shelter in Machala. He
said one shelter is not enough, so the GOE is exploring with
UNESCO funding possibilities for a victims' center in
historic Quito center. Upon further investigation, PolOff
learned the shelter in Machala will open in November and is
operated jointly by a NGO and the ILO. The shelter's work
will focus on prevention and recovery of children who are
victims of sexual exploitation. PolOff will follow-up with
the ILO to learn more about the services offered for TIP
4. (SBU) Also on August 24, the Ambassador met with National
Police Chief Jorge Poveda, who discussed his efforts to fight
TIP and the need for additional work in specific areas.
Poveda said he believes in the importance of coordination
between the police and victims' services' providers. (The
Embassy plans to facilitate this dialogue.) Poveda said he
also plans to train additional officers to join DINAPEN, a
police unit that focuses its work on assisting children, in
response to mounting requests from provincial police forces
all over the country.
5. (U) DINAPEN continued to conduct raids on brothels and
nightclubs where minors work as prostitutes. From August 14
to 26, the police visited 36 establishments in 14 provinces.
They rescued 61 minors. DHS inspections of nightclubs in
Quito confirm that the number of minor victims found is
realistic. (Reports were faxed to WHA/PPC on September 3.)
The following is pertinent information from the police
--On August 15, police found 9 adolescents in a discotheque
in Esmeraldas.
--On August 22, 18 minors were found in a discotheque in
--From August 21 to 27, 5 minors from Colombia, 1 from
Argentina, and 1 from Peru were found in raids.
--Most minors were returned to their parents, but one minor
in El Oro province reportedly was taken to a shelter.
6. (U) In conjunction with the Capital Historic Center
Administration, police have conducted raids recently in Quito
and closed 14 brothels for a lack of appropriate paperwork.
A September 1 article in leading Quito daily, Hoy newspaper,
reports that 150 prostitutes were displaced as part of this
7. (U) DHS trained GOE officers from across the country on
computer forensics to combat child pornography. On August
11, 18 Ecuadorian National Police officers were trained, and
on August 12, 18 officials from DINAPEN, the judicial police,
and the prosecutors office received training. Mariana Yepez,
the attorney general, opened the August 12 session, expressed
the GOE's commitment to fighting child pornography, and said
she supports training for GOE personnel. The GOE financially
supported the program by sending 7 officials to Quito on
temporary duty from Guayaquil, Santo Domingo, and Cuenca for
8. (SBU) DHS continues to work with GOE officials to
prosecute Joseph Day, a Cuban-American who engaged in child
pornography in Guayaquil, in the U.S. under provision of the
Protect Act. The GOE is expected to deport Day to the U.S.
9. (SBU) DHS and the Ecuadorian National Police also worked
together to deport Brandon Jones to the U.S. for prosecution.
Jones was wanted on a range of child sex charges in South
Carolina. USG and GOE agents conducted this investigation
under Operation Predator, which protects children against sex
10. (U) Press reports that the Burdet-Cedeno couple has
received additional sentences for crimes of child pornography
in the Galapagos. The couple reportedly received three
sentences for 16, 12, and 20 years respectively. They were
prosecuted for child pornography and sexual abuse of more
than 50 minors. National media coverage of this case was
11. (SBU) On August 31, PolOff met with Rocio Rosero,
director of CONAMU (the National Commission on Women), which
is an institutional member of the newly created anti-TIP GOE
working group with special interest in victims services.
Rosero said she is conducting a pilot program with UNICEF
through a church in Sucumbios to provide services to TIP
victims. CONAMU is also working with a local NGO in Coca to
provide victims services.
12. (SBU) At a meeting with PolOff on September 1, National
Institute of the Children and Families (INNFA)'s
representative Lillian Ortiz described plans to provide
long-term social services to victims of TIP and commercial
sexual exploitation. PolOff encouraged INNFA to work with
NGOs already engaged in victims services to develop a
national network of shelters to supplement limited and less
appropriate police-run facilities.
13. (SBU) According to CONAMU Director Rosero, the Committee
to Design the National Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons,
Alien Smuggling, and Labor and Sexual Exploitation,
established in the presidential decree (reftel), has begun
meeting biweekly to coordinate GOE efforts. Last week's
meeting focused on legal reform of the penal code. The
Government Ministry is trying to harmonize several draft
reform bills into a unified Government proposal, which will
sanction TIP and impose prison terms of up to 12 years for
traffickers. Once the President signs the bill, it will be
sent to Congress. Rosero told PolOff she has begun meeting
with interested members of Congress to explain and lobby for
the reforms. MFA Director General for Human Rights Julio
Prado told PolCouns that the GOE needs to carefully review
the draft legislation to ensure it complies fully with the
provisions of the TIP Protocol of the Palermo Convention.
14. (SBU) Anti-TIP legislation is a necessary and important
benchmark for progress. However, existing legislation is not
sufficient to allow the GOE to prosecute traffickers, and
minors are being removed from prostitution houses on labor
law violations which do not levy sanctions on traffickers.
We will continue to work with the GOE to resolve the issue of
competing anti-TIP legislation in Congress and monitor the
status of bills. We will also strive to ensure that any
reforms are compatible with the GOE's obligations under the
Palermo Convention protocols.
15. (SBU) Victim services and training are also critical to
the GOE's protection efforts. We plan to visit the shelter
Baca mentioned and the shelter in El Oro province (see
paragraph 5) to determine what services are offered. We also
will work with NGOs and the GOE to encourage progress. End
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