Cablegate: Ecuador Moving Forward On Combating Tip

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. Summary. A State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP)
delegation visited Ecuador from July 30 to August 4. Their
agenda included a series of meetings with high-level GOE
officials (the Ministers of Government and Labor), a
congresswoman, different units of the police, the MFA, and
several NGOs, including the International Labor Organization
(ILO). The GOE provided additional information about its
efforts and is working hard to combat TIP. The delegation
members were impressed by GOE officials' genuine concern
about the issue and believe the political will exists to
fight it. Full implementation of the action plan remains a
concern, however. End Summary.

2. Rachel Owen of the G/TIP office and Eric Falls of WHA
visited Ecuador from July 30 to August 4, 2004. Ecuador
earlier had earned a Tier 3 TIP rating. The purpose of the
visit was to gauge the GOE's progress on a 60-day action plan
to reclassify Ecuador to the Tier 2 Watch List.


3. The TIP delegation first called on Minister of Government
Raul Baca. Baca has demonstrated a highly sophisticated
understanding of TIP. He began studying the problem in
January, a full five months before Ecuador was placed on the
report. Baca presented the TIP team a diagram explaining the
nature of the problem and pages of judicial reforms needed in
the penal code. He was very concerned that the law be
amended to mandate that adults engaged in commercial sexual
exploitation of minors (CSEM) are sufficiently punished.
Additionally, Baca's office had studied the Internet
distribution of child pornography and found occurrences in

4. When asked when Ecuador would name a TIP Coordinator,
Baca was confused and said he is the TIP Coordinator. He
said his mandate is obvious and did not understand why a
written document was needed. However, he agreed to seek an
"official" nomination.


5. The Baca call was followed by a visit to Congresswoman
Jacqueline Silva. Silva has submitted a bill, which is
currently in committee, to define TIP and institute penalties
against traffickers. The draft earlier had been reviewed by
the American Bar Association (ABA), and Silva had amended it
to include the ABA's suggestions. She believes the bill will
enter the first debate in November. Ecuador's Congress
recently began a one-month vacation, but Silva is making a
strong effort to place the bill on the docket as early as

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6. At a joint meeting between DINAPEN (a police unit
dedicated to protecting children), COAC (an anti-alien
smuggling unit the USG trains and financially supports), the
Ministry of Social Welfare, CONAMU (the National Commission
Advising on Women's Issues), AID, and other USG officials,
DINAPEN promised to conduct additional raids of prostitution
houses. They also said they had conducted weekly raids of
prostitution houses for some time.

7. The police affirmed their commitment to fighting CSEM but
were concerned about a lack of social services for rescued
victims. In response, the Ministry of Social Welfare offered
a building in southern Quito as a shelter. AID provided
DINAPEN with a list of NGOs and encouraged the police to work
with those able to provide shelter and/or counseling. The
director of ALISEI, an Italian NGO with experience fighting
TIP in Africa, said psychologists at their existing migrant
centers in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca could counsel victims.


8. On day two, the team called on the MFA's migration and
human rights offices. The MFA diplomats are equally commited
to combating TIP and promised to meet with the embassy of
Spain, a destination country for trafficked Ecuadorians, and
also the embassies of Colombia and Peru, source countries, in
the next week.

9. Additionally the MFA presented the visitors with a copy
of a presidential decree against TIP. The version is the
final draft and should be signed at a cabinet meeting on
August 9. The decree makes important advances by naming a
TIP coordinator and establishing a committee of government
agencies to eradicate TIP.

10. In addition to these steps, the MFA and President
Gutierrez's spokesperson agreed on the critical need for a
public statement against TIP. A public service announcement
by the Ricky Martin Foundation denouncing TIP already has
aired on local stations. They noted the press secretary is
planning additional showings.

11. The TIP team's final call was with Magne Swartbekk, head
of the ILO's mission. Through the U.S. Department of Labor,
the ILO has approximately $150,000 to combat CSEM. Swartbekk
explained the organization will begin a project in Machala
shortly. The action plan is being written, and the goal is
to reform legislation at the municipal level and train
politicians about the problem. Furthermore, Swartbekk noted
the ILO will train local police in seven provinces in
September and include information on using an integrated
approach to CSEM raids by working with NGOs in law
enforcement activities. The GOE also is contributing
funding. Along these lines, the Minister of Labor has
established an interinstitutional committee to eradicate
child labor.


12. Post too was impressed by the GOE's commitment to combat
TIP and sophisticated understanding of the issue. The GOE
has taken important steps toward combating the problem
despite difficulties with a legalistic culture and very
limited resources. Now comes the hard part - implementation.

13. Baca and Silva's efforts to seek legislative remedies
are understandable in Ecuador's highly legalistic
environment. They likely believe them important first steps.
While legislative change is necessary, it should occur
concurrently with other efforts. We will show strong support
for their proposals, however, in our regular interaction with
Congress. In regards to law enforcement actions, the Embassy
has received weekly reports from the police on their raids
but finds the format difficult to understand. The Embassy
will work with the police to summarize the information in a
clear manner and pass it to G/TIP.

14. Post will continue to push the GOE for concerted
efforts, and key among them the press release, and report on
new developments. End Comment.

15. The Trafficking in Persons delegation did not clear this
message before departing Ecuador.

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