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Cablegate: More Tip Convictions, Goe Commitment Firm

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0998 1222038
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 022038Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6922
INFO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 6620
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 2528
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAY 0571
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 1622
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 2268
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS QUITO 000998

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/PPC, WHA/AND, AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL EC
SUBJECT: MORE TIP CONVICTIONS, GOE COMMITMENT FIRM

REF: 06 QUITO 2681

1. (U) Summary: Ecuador continues to arrest, prosecute,
convict and sentence TIP offenders. Superstar El Oro
province prosecutor Lucy Blacio added another two convictions
to her credit in April. Pichincha province gained two this
month, the first convictions outside El Oro under Ecuador's
modern anti-TIP statute. Arrests continue apace nationwide
and the GOE has uncovered and exposed a network of children
rented out to begging syndicates. National authorities
maintain expressions of commitment in the fight against TIP.
End summary.

First TIP Convictions in Pichincha, More Arrests

2. (U) On April 23, Pichincha province TIP prosecutor Thania
Moreno won the conviction and sentencing of defendants for
sexual exploitation of minors, marking the first TIP sentence
outside of El Oro province under Ecuador's new anti-TIP law.
The two defendants were part of the "La Luna" case (reftel),
involving multiple defendants. One sentenced defendant
received the maximum 12 years and the other received six
years in prison. The remaining defendants should be brought
to trial soon, according to Moreno.

3. (U) On April 9 and 17, El Oro province TIP prosecutor
Lucy Blacio won the conviction and sentencing of another two
TIP defendants. One defendant, a brothel owner, received
four years of prison time for sexual exploitation of a minor.
The judge did not give the maximum of 12 years in this case,
noting that the defendant cooperated in the investigation and
claimed he didn't know the girl was underage. Blacio has
appealed the sentence, asking that the judge impose the full
penalty of 12 years as the law specifies. Another defendant
in a separate case received the maximum of 12 years for his
role in sexual exploitation of a minor. The evidence
revealed that the defendant forced a minor to work in various
brothels, supplying her with fake documents in an attempt to
falsify her age.

4. (U) The GOE continues to make TIP arrests around the
country. TIP arrests occurred in April in Santo Domingo,
Pichincha province; in Machala, El Oro province; and in
Portoviejo, Manabi province. On April 14 national child
welfare police agency DINAPEN uncovered a network of brokers
in children transported to big cities and forced to beg from
motorists on the streets. Hailing mostly from poor
indigenous areas, some children were found to be "sold" or
"rented" by their parents. Prosecutors in Pichincha and
Tungurahua provinces are gathering evidence against
organizers. Community leaders have noted that the practice
is well known and widespread.

GOE Expresses Will to Combat TIP

5. (U) In a meeting with representatives of 12 GOE agencies,
NGOs and USAID, Natalie Cely, Minister Coordinator for Social
Development, expressed the GOE's continued commitment to
fighting TIP. In her role as super-minister coordinating the
gamut of the GOE's social programs, she evinced an excellent
grasp of TIP and a sincere desire to push the National
Anti-TIP Plan forward. In a separate meeting with EmbOffs,
the deputy and international affairs directors of the
Attorney General's office also expressed the will to continue
to advance prosecutions of TIP cases nationwide.

6. (SBU) Comment: Instability in the attorney general's
office and an overburdened and sometimes corrupt judicial
system have not stopped the GOE from making a steady stream
of arrests and winning a wave of convictions over the past
six months. Local prosecutors, police and judges continue to
chalk up successes fighting TIP and the new government's
leaders have pledged to continue the fight begun under the
previous administration. Prosecutors tell us more could be
done if judges were less burdened and there were more
resources for victim shelters. We will continue to urge
progress in these areas and assist where possible.
JEWELL

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