Cablegate: Ecuador's Tip Czar Goes to the Press

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. Ecuador's TIP Coordinator, the Minister of
Government Baca, cooperated with the country's largest
newspaper for a front-page article recognizing the TIP
problem and laying out a plan to combat it, including penal
code reforms. The reforms are a significant step forward and
comply with US standards. Minister of Government Baca's
pro-active actions and his commitments to the Ambassador
reflect his leadership on the issue. He subsequently
provided Post with significant documentation of the GOE's
projects and plans to combat TIP. End Summary.

2. El Universo, Ecuador's largest newspaper, featured a
front-page story on TIPs on August 12. Sources within the
Ministry of Government told us the Ministry had initiated the
article and worked with the local press to ensure it was
published by the Post-requested deadline. The article
focuses on Baca's leadership as TIP Coordinator, as well as
GOE proposed legal reforms and penalties for commercial
sexual exploitation of minors (CSEM) and TIP. The article
summarizes the results of the International Labor
Organization's study and mentions a police report on law
enforcement activities in July and August 2004 aimed at
combating CSEM.

4. The article's salient points are the following:

- The Ministry of Government will present a bill to Congress
that reforms the penal code and attempts to punish and
eliminate CSEM. The document makes significant reforms to
the penal codes of children and adolescents, health, and the
Tourism Law.

- The Ministry of Government has been working to combat CSEM
for nine months, and the Ministry of Labor is actively
involved in projects to eradicate child labor.

- All parties (including clients) involved in sexual tourism
with minors will be held legally responsible. Tourism
providers, hotels, airlines, and land and sea transport
providers that are aware their services are used for sexual
tourism will be subject to criminal penalties if they do not
notify police.

- The reforms change the definition of a minor to include
persons from 14 to 18 years old.

- Minors who are victims of sexual exploitation can
criminally charge their pimps for 10 years after the victim
has turned 18. Victims determine when they are
psychologically ready to testify.

- Establishments where minors are engaged in sexual
exploitation will be closed permanently and fined. Current
legislation does not allow prostitution houses to be closed
and by default allows establishments to employ minors if
their papers are in order.

5. Ambassador Kenney spoke with Baca on August 11 and was
very encouraged after the conversation. Baca stressed his
long-time commitment to working against TIP and said the
presidential decree would be issued during the week of August
16. As Baca promised in the call, Post received additional
TIP documentation on August 12. The contents illustrate the
GOE's commitment to combating TIP and the particular concern
for minors who are victims. A letter from Baca to the
Ambassador states the Ministry of Government has been
coordinating an interagency process to develop a plan to
combat TIPs since January. In particular, the group has
worked on a bill reforming the penal code to present to

6. Comment. In our view, the El Universo article confirms
the GOE's public commitment to combating TIP and Baca's
pro-active role as the GOE TIP Coordinator. The article and
documents constitute the substance of what will become the
GOE's National Plan to combat TIP. We continue to work
closely with Minister Baca and other GOE officials to
encourage their efforts and suggest additional actions. Both
the de facto press release and naming of a TIP Coordinator
are critical steps completed on the 60-day action plan. End

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