Cablegate: Ecuador Continues to Move Forward On 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. Ecuador continues its strong fight against
trafficking in persons (TIP), commercial sexual exploitation
of minors (CSEM), and child pornography and has made
additional progress since the last update. Congress is
reviewing penal code reforms to change the definition of a
minor to a child under 18 years of age and strengthen the
GOE's laws against TIP. Efforts to develop victim services
continue, and a shelter will open in Machala by the end of
October. The police continue to conduct raids on
prostitution houses and nightclubs on a regular basis. A
number of newspaper articles also illustrated the importance
of TIP in Ecuador. End Summary.


2. On September 6, the President sent a bill with penal code
reforms to Congress. (The bill was emailed to WHA/PPC on
September 15.) The bill was drafted by the Ministry of
Government and references the Inter-American Convention on
International Traffic in Minors, the U.N. Protocol on TIP,
and the U.N. Convention on Organized Crime. The bill changes
the definition of a minor to a child under 18 years of age.
It also allows the government to confiscate money and
property gained from illegal prostitution, TIP, pornography
and CSEM. Clients of illegal prostitutes, persons who
partake in sex tourism, and elements of the tourism industry
that support sex tourism can be prosecuted.

3. The Ambassador hosted a lunch for Codel Weller and members
of Congress's Ecuadorian-American interests group on August
12. The Ecuadorian congresspeople initiated discussion of
TIP and child pornography. They expressed their support of
anti-TIP legislation, and the Embassy will maintain
Congressional contact to facilitate passage of the bill.


4. PolOff met with ILO Director Magne Svartbekk on September
13. He said the ILO's headquarters in Geneva is currently
approving a proposal to open a shelter for TIP victims in
Machala. In the ILO's 2002 report, Machala was the third
worst city in Ecuador for CSEM. The shelter is expected to
open by the end of October, and PolOff will visit it soon
after it opens.

5. On September 14, the political section hosted a lunch to
bring together NGOs and GOE officials to discuss services for
TIP victims. The participants analyzed the special needs of
TIP victims and potential solutions. Lack of funding is a
prime concern, but USAID is committed to showing the GOE how
existing resources can be used to help victims. The Embassy
will continue to meet with these groups and encourage them to
design a realistic plan for providing services.

--------------------------------------------- ----

6. The unit of the police dedicated to protecting minors,
DINAPEN, conducted an additional 33 raids from August 27 to
September 1. DINAPEN carried out these operations in
brothels and nightclubs where minors work as prostitutes and
rescued 30 minors. The Embassy's DHS and AID offices will
continue to assist DINAPEN in finding social services for
rescued minors. (Reports were faxed to WHA/PPC on September
15.) Highlights from the reports include the following

--On August 27, police found 11 adolescents in a nightclub in
Manabi province.
--On September 1, four minors were found at an establishment
in Guayas province.


7. TIP and child pornography continued to receive substantial
press coverage. Recent articles include:

-- September 7: Quito's center-left "Hoy" (circ: 38,500)
announced that the President presented TIP penal code reforms
to Congress. The article reports that the President urged
Congress to analyze the proposals and pass them quickly.
-- Quito's center-right "El Universo" (circ: 140,000), the
country's most circulated newspaper, consistently updated the
status of the Joseph Day child pornography case in a series
of articles. The most recent article was written on
September 10. The paper often has written articles about
this case for several days in a row.

-- September 11: According to "Hoy", the municipal government
of Quito stated that registered prostitution houses have one
month remaining to move to non-residential areas zoned for
prostitution. Residents of one neighborhood voiced their
strong support for the zoning changes and said they would not
allow sexual businesses to reopen in their neighborhood
despite the industry's opposition.

-- September 15: Quito's newspaper of record "El Comercio"
(circ: 80,000), one of Ecuador's most prominent newspapers,
reported that the city of Riobamba has developed a plan to
assist adolescents engaged in prostitution. Labor
inspectors raided one prostitution house where minors work
and discovered the facilities were in disrepair and had
neither electricity nor potable water. PolOff will follow up
with municipal government officials to learn more about the
plan and what services it will provide.

-- September 15: Guayaquil's centrist "El Expreso" (circ:
28,000) highlighted the Ministry of Government's actions to
combat child pornography and sexual tourism after a computer
expert found two child pornography websites originating in
Quito. One website touted child prostitutes from different
regions of Ecuador as exotic and specifically catered to sex
tourism. PolOff spoke with Carlos Jativa in the Ministry and
confirmed the GOE's plan to combat the problem: an
enlargement of DINAPEN, filters to find hidden child
pornography websites, and by the end of October, a law to
exclusively penalize child pornography over the internet and
hold internet service providers responsible.

8. Comment. The GOE continues to do an impressive job of
moving forward in the fight against TIP. Officials remain
committed to changing and strengthening the existing laws.
Social services providers are progressing on plans for a
shelter in Machala and a pilot project in Santo Domingo, both
of which should open in October. Additional training is
necessary, but the ILO has CSEM training planned for the end
of the month, which PolOff will attend. The Embassy will
continue to work with GOE officials and NGOs to ensure
Ecuador continues to make significant progress against TIP.
End Comment.

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