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Cablegate: Ecuador 2007 Tip Report

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0482/01 0602215
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 012215Z MAR 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6424
INFO RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 6472
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 2395
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR 0443
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 1446
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 1958
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS QUITO 000482

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS USAID

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, WHA/PPC, WHA/AND

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN ELAB SMIG ASEC KFRD PREF

SUBJECT: ECUADOR 2007 TIP REPORT

REF: SECSTATE 202745

1. (SBU) Summary: Over the past year, Ecuador has achieved
significant and sustained progress in the areas of prevention,
protection, and prosecution of TIP. GOE commitment to combat
TIP is evidenced by former President Palacio's signing of the
National Anti-TIP Plan on August 30, 2006. The GOE has
implemented comprehensive anti-TIP legislation and continues to
vigorously investigate and prosecute offenders. More than 100
police, prosecutors and judges underwent intensive training to
combat TIP, resulting in more than 100 TIP cases currently in
process; there were two TIP convictions and sentencings in
September and December 2006. Specially appointed prosecutors are
leading prosecution efforts. The Attorney General's Office
tracks data on TIP complaints, arrests and prosecutions.

2. (SBU) The GOE, via INNFA, launched in November 2006 a US $1
million national anti-TIP and anti-alien smuggling campaign
targeting vulnerable audiences in all 22 provinces. In August
2006, the Ecuadorian Public Ministry established a 36-member
police unit for Victim and Witness Protection. GOE-supported
shelters for TIP victims protected 27 TIP victims in 2006.
Senior government officials, including the former President,
First Lady, and cabinet members spoke out publicly many times
about the problem. President Rafael Correa took office took
office January 15 and already several senior ministers of
government have expressed GOE commitment to continue the fight
against trafficking in persons. End Summary.

3. (U) This report provides responses keyed to the TIP
questionnaire contained in RefTel. Nominations of heroes and
best practices follow at Para 8. Point of contact is Erik
Martini, IVG 644 ext. 4424, fax: +593-2-254-0712. Hours spent
on this report: USAID officer 30, NAS Officer 5, POLOFF 20,
POLCHIEF 5.

4. (SBU) Overview of Activities to Eliminate TIP:
--------------------------------------------- -----

A. Is the country a country of origin, transit, or destination
for internationally trafficked men, women, or children?
Provide, where possible, numbers or estimates for each group;
how they were trafficked, to where, and for what purpose. Does
the trafficking occur within the country's borders? Does it
occur in territory outside of the government's control (e.g. in
a civil war situation)? Are any estimates or reliable numbers
available as to the extent or magnitude of the problem? What
is (are) the source(s) of available information on trafficking
in persons or what plans are in place (if any) to undertake
documentation of trafficking? How reliable are the numbers and
these sources? Are certain groups of persons more at risk of
being trafficked (e.g. women and children, boys versus girls,
certain ethnic groups, refugees, etc.)?

Ecuador is a country of origin, transit, and destination for
trafficked women and children. The most comprehensive TIP study
of Ecuador was undertaken by the International Labor
Organization (ILO) in 2003. This report by a respected
international organization remains the benchmark of research
into the trafficking problem and is widely regarded as accurate.
The research showed that approximately 5,200 youth and
adolescents -- between age 15 and 17 -- are commercially
sexually exploited in Ecuador. Studies also show Ecuadorian
youth sent to Spain, Italy, Venezuela, Peru and Colombia for
labor or commercial sexual exploitation.

More recent TIP research was completed by the ILO in May 2006,
studying 9 selected cities throughout Ecuador: Ambato, Otavalo,
Riobamba, Quito, Santo Domingo de los Colorados, Guayaquil,
Manta, Machala and Lago Agrio. The study confirmed extensive
routes of internal trafficking between these cities and found
evidence that Ecuadorians were trafficked out of Ecuador to
Colombia and Venezuela and Colombians were trafficked into
Ecuador.

In addition to the baseline studies that were conducted in Santo
Domingo de los Colorados and Ibarra, Foundation Esquel, together
with Foundation Esperanza (Hope) and the Municipal Childhood and
Adolescent Advisory Board of Tena, will conduct a baseline study
of the situation of commercial sexual exploitation of minors and
adolescents in Tena, province of Napo. The objectives of the
study will be to raise awareness of public sector officials and
civil society organizations through training; to formulate a
Local Action Plan to combat CSEM; and to promote a local public
policy and training to increase the presentation of complaints
and accusations of CSEM crimes.

B. Please provide a general overview of the trafficking
situation in the country and any changes since the last TIP
Report (e.g. changes in direction). Also briefly explain the
political will to address trafficking in persons. Other items to
address may include: What kind of conditions are the victims
trafficked into? Which populations are targeted by the
traffickers? Who are the traffickers? What methods are used to
approach victims? (Are they offered lucrative jobs, sold by
their families, approached by friends of friends, etc.?) What
methods are used to move the victims (e.g., are false documents
being used?).

The human trafficking pattern in Ecuador does not appear to have
changed significantly since the 2006 TIP Report. The GOE
continues to show its resolve to take action against
trafficking.

There is a high incidence of internally trafficked children and
adolescents who are sold into sexual slavery. Conditions that
victims are trafficked into are illustrated in a January 2006
DINAPEN raid that led to the rescue of 11 minors between the
ages 14-17. According to the GOE TIP prosecutor, Thania Moreno,
the accused controlled the girls, moving them from city to city
within Ecuador and forced them into prostitution. One victim
stated that "once Qhired' and regardless of age, the club
converted into a prison. The girls could not leave: there they
slept and ate." False documents were obtained in Quito and
Guayaquil. Out of the 11 victims, three were from Santo Domingo,
Pichincha province, two from Buena Fe, Los Rios province, one
from Quevedo, Los Rios province, one from Guayaquil, Guayas
province, one from Chone, Manabi province, and the three
remaining from various cities in the Amazon region.

On September 9, press reported the following testimony from a
victim: "I was recruited by my boyfriend," Valeria (fictitious
name), a 14-year-old, noted. A friend of my brother courted me
and brought me to Crucita (Manabi province) with the promise
that I would have a better life in the capital. Little by
little he began to hit me and forced me to work in a brothel. I
also had to give him money--$25 for each act. After an
operation by DINAPEN, he is now in prison and I almost can't
sleep at night for the fear of seeing him again."

The TIP study completed by the ILO in May 2006 and a 2006 study
by Our Youth Foundation, also provide insight into trafficking
targets, traffickers, and methods used to approach victims.

Traffickers tend to recruit targets in extremely poor
communities. They target vulnerable adolescents, enticing them
with promises of work, wealth and success. TIP victims at a
Quito shelter tell of being approached by friends at bars who
offered them jobs and opportunity. Poor parents also sell their
adolescent children to traffickers who tout the chance of
legitimate employment and adventure abroad.

The most vulnerable trafficking targets include
institutionalized and abandoned children of emigrants, children
of prostitutes, and young migrants. Areas with high rates of
human trafficking in Ecuador include border communities,
villages near tourist areas and major corporations, the
highlands, and urban coastal communities. In Santo Domingo,
Pichincha province, there is a high incidence of internally
trafficked children and adolescents who are exploited for sexual
slavery. These victims arrive in Santo Domingo from various
parts of Ecuador in transit or as a final destination.
Traffickers post job announcements along the lampposts of Santo
Domingo's streets "seeking young attractive women for better
paid jobs." Machala and Guayaquil are referred to as recruitment
centers, places of origin for a number of victims trafficked
internally and internationally. In the highlands there are
reports of minors from indigenous villages, located in and
around Otavalo, trafficked to other Latin American and European
countries (e.g., Spain, Italy).

In Riobamba children are lured into labor exploitation at
agricultural or animal fairs, attended by primarily poor
indigenous families. Traffickers offer parents better living
conditions (work, food, education, travel, etc.) in exchange for
monthly or yearly payments (US $800 to $1000 annually).
Traffickers typically provide an initial up front cash amount to
parents in exchange for consent to leave with the child.
Interviews with parents also suggest that traffickers have
approached the child directly, luring them with offers of money,
without consent of the parents.

In Quito, ads placed on lampposts and in bus terminals often
seek girls, offering work, housing, food and commission Q cases
which lead to sexual enslavement of minors. Recruiters also may
be girls convincing potential Qworkers' by offering an easy way
to earn money to get a cellular phone, new clothing, etc. These
recruiters often earn a commission for bringing in other girls
who eventually end up working in brothels. Organized crime
groups also operate and traffic girls between Quito and Santo
Domingo de los Colorados.

In Lago Agrio a young girl from Cali, Colombia was forced into
prostitution after a neighbor asked permission to take the child
to the beach. The girl was taken instead to a brother where she
was held in sexual slavery.

In a documentary, the NGO Our Youth Foundation highlighted
methods to lure victims. A typical ruse deals with a boyfriend,
who falls in love with a young girl promising her a better life
and lucrative job if they move away to another city. In the
city, the money soon runs out and the boyfriend tells the girl
that she must work so they can make ends meet. He often
indicates that he has located a job for her Q and presents a
uniform from a cabaret or night club. Reluctantly, she accepts,
thinking that it will only be for a short while until they find
something better and get back on their feet. After a couple of
nights, she is forced

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