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Cablegate: Panama Investigators, Prosecutors Push Tip Agenda

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PANAMA 002589

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR WHA/PPC/MICHAEL PUCCETTI, G/TIP/RACHEL
OWEN/ANTHONY ETERNO, WHA/CEN/THOMAS PIERCE


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL SMIG PM KTIP LABOR HUMAN RIGHTSPOLMIL
SUBJECT: PANAMA INVESTIGATORS, PROSECUTORS PUSH TIP AGENDA


REF: A. PANAMA 2153
B. PANAMA 2533


-------
SUMMARY
-------


1. (SBU) Despite the continued absence of funding for the
anti-TIP law enacted in March 2004 (see Reftel A) and a
recent change in administration, Panama's Judicial Police
(PTJ) and prosecutors have continued to push the TIP agenda.
They have publicized the anti-TIP law, created a specialized
section for child sexual exploitation, extended anti-TIP
efforts to the provinces, and fostered inter-governmental
cooperation. Institutionalizing the anti-TIP effort within
the PTJ and the Prosecutor's office at the technical level
has created momentum in the GOP's anti-TIP efforts. End
Summary.


-------------------------------
PTJ PUBLICIZES NEW ANTI-TIP LAW
-------------------------------


2. (U) On October 6, the PTJ publicized its new Sexual
Exploitation Section with a launch ceremony and news
conference. On the same date, the PTJ's Sex Crimes Unit
Chief Ana Cajar appeared on the program Caracol to publicize
the anti-TIP law and Sexual Exploitation Section. Since the
anti-TIP law was passed, Chief Cajar and PTJ officials have
spoken at several schools and two universities to publicize
the new law and raise awareness about the problem of sexual
exploitation of children. The PTJ's Public Affairs Office
prepared brochures for the launch ceremony explaining Sexual
Exploitation of Minors, the cases the Sexual Exploitation
Section handles, and the problem of sexual predation. As
funding under the new-TIP law (which has a designated tax
source) becomes available, the PTJ plans to distribute the
brochures at police intake rooms and in schools in
cooperation with the Ministry of Education.


------------------------
FOCUS OF NEW SECTION
------------------------


3. (U) The PTJ created the Sexual Exploitation Section to
fulfill its obligations under its new anti-TIP law. The
section serves both citizen and foreign minors in Panama who
have been sexually exploited. The Sexual Exploitation
Section can initiate its own investigations, conduct
undercover operations, and monitor computers with court
approval. The PTJ's already existing Sex Crimes Unit directs
the new section, which handles cases of corruption of minors,
pimping, international sex trafficking, child pornography,
and sex tourism.


4. (U) Through September 2004, the Sexual Exploitation
Section opened 15 cases with eight of those cases in
September alone. One-third of the cases involved child
prostitution, another third involved pimping or prostitution,
and two cases involved sex trafficking.


--------------------------
EXTENSION TO THE PROVINCES
--------------------------


5. (U) The PTJ has extended the reach of the Sexual
Exploitation Section outside of Panama City by naming
investigators and support personnel in provinces to
coordinate the new section. Activist prosecutors in the
provinces, especially the Darien, created greater TIP
awareness within other ministries. By pursuing new cases,
the prosecutors involved more ministries through their
efforts to protect and provide services to victims.


-----------------------------
INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION
-----------------------------


6. (U) Family Court Judge President Esmeralda Arosemena de
Troitino, Sex Crimes Prosecutor Maruquel Castroverde, Chief
Cajar, and PTJ Director General Erick Bravo Dutary all spoke
during the October 6 launch of the Sexual Exploitation
Section. Judge Arosemena explained the challenges in
providing assistance to victims. Prosecutor Castroverde
spoke passionately about the new tools the anti-TIP law
provides and encouraged witnesses to come forward.
Prosecutor Castroverde stated that while the Prosecutor's Sex
Crimes Office lacks resources, it will still get the job
done. Chief Cajar stressed the need to investigate cases
using undercover operations and her belief that sexual
exploitation of minors is linked to international crime.
COMMENT
7. (SBU) Efforts to implement and publicize the anti-TIP
law throughout Panama indicate that the PTJ and Prosecutors
have a strong institutionalized commitment to combat sex
trafficking of minors regardless of agency resources. As
will be discussed in septel on victim protection, Minister of
Youth Leonor Calderon expects the Attorney General to convene
the Commission created by the anti-TIP law on November 26,
making additional anti-TIP resources available. The PTJ news
conference represented an inexpensive way for the PTJ and the
Sex Crimes Prosecutor to keep sexual exploitation on the
agenda. While the Torrijos administration has recently
nominated Esmeralda Arosemena to the Supreme Court in a
controversial move to replace Justice Cesar Pereira (see
reftel B), anti-child exploitation advocates expect her to
remain committed to combating TIP. Despite the
intergovernmental approach, the PTJ still faces coordination
challenges in implementing the new law with the National
Police, who require more anti-TIP training.


MCMULLEN

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