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Cablegate: Ecuador Tip Update

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

REF: A. QUITO 2595
B. QUITO 2447

1. Summary. Ecuadorian police conducted nearly 50 raids
September 16 - 30 and found 55 minors suspected as victims of
trafficking in persons (TIP). USAID signed a $300,000
agreement with Geneva Global to begin a small grants program
aimed at prevention, prosecution and protection of TIP.
Press play was heavy on the Angel Mariscal and Burdet Cedeno
child pornography cases. The Embassy has provided TIP
messages to local media. Several TIP-related reform bills
are pending in Congress. End Summary.

Minors Found in Police Raids

2. DINAPEN, the police unit dedicated to protecting
children, reported that from September 16 - 23, the police
rescued 77 minors in 26 raids of bars, brothels, and
nightclubs, 22 of whom are believed to have engaged in
prostitution, in these raids. Most of the children were
found in southern Ecuador in the provinces of Guayas, Azuay,
and Loja. In raids conducted September 24 - 30, police
rescued 122 minors, of whom 43 were believed to be involved
in prostitution. Twenty-five of the 43 minors were found in
one disco bar, that prostitutes frequent, in Esmeraldas.
Most minors found in both weeks' raids were returned to
relatives, except those found in Guayas province who were all
taken to "Patio de Mi Pana", a group that shelters
adolescents. We plan to visit shortly to learn more about
its services to TIP victims.

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USAID Launches Grants to Combat TIP and Assist Victims
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. On September 30, USAID and NGO Geneva Global signed a
cooperative agreement establishing a small grants program to
combat TIP in the areas of prevention, rehabilitation, and
prosecution. USAID provided $300,000, and from November 2004
to September 2006, the grant should fund 12 to 16 projects.
If successful, the grants would provide: education of
potential 40,000 potential victims about the risks of
trafficking; education of 10,000 community members, teachers,
and leaders about the dangers of trafficking in their
communities; job skill training for 1,500 victims;
psychological and medical treatment for 1,000 victims; legal
assistance for 250 victims; and training on combating TIP for
150 public officials and lawyers. The AID grants are part of
our strategy to supplement Ecuadorian government and civil
society's existing efforts and lead to the creation of a
self-sustaining network of integrated victims assistance
centers throughout the country.

Getting the Message Out to the Public

4. On October 4, PAS distributed a Voice of America
editorial that spoke out against TIP. Sixty radio stations in
Ecuador aired the program.

Child Pornography Cases Advance in Courts

5. On September 24, a U.S. judge sentenced Angel Mariscal,
an Ecuadorian citizen and legal permanent resident in the
U.S., to 100 years on 7 charges of child pornography. In
Cuba and Ecuador, he filmed pornography videos involving 150
children, some of whom were less than 12 years old. Jesenia
Rezabala, Mariscal's ex-girlfriend, was sentenced to three
years in Guayaquil for corruption of minors. U.S.
prosecutors said Mariscal made more than 300 videos. Police
in Guayas province determined that Mariscal's child
pornography network abused more than 80 Ecuadorian children.
National press play on this case was heavy.

According to media, a court will try the Burdet Cedeno couple
on four charges of raping minor girls and one charge of
drugging minors. These charges are related to the couple's
well-known child pornography and sexual abuse case where a
court convicted the couple on three charges and sentenced
them to 12, 16, and 20 years. (Ref B)

Competing Reforms Before Congress

6. Several bills to codify TIP and penalize involved parties
are still pending in Congress. We are reviewing them to
determine how well they address trafficking, and will
encourage Congress to move quickly on the most promising
legislative reforms. Septel will analyze the proposed

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