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Cablegate: Tier 2 Watch List Interim Assessment

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 QUITO 002980

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/PPC, WHA/AND, AND G/TIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL EC
SUBJECT: TIER 2 WATCH LIST INTERIM ASSESSMENT

REF: A. SECSTATE 228298

B. QUITO 2595
C. QUITO 2252
D. QUITO 2773
E. QUITO 1877
F. QUITO 2861
G. QUITO 2274
H. QUITO 2874

1. Summary. Ecuador has taken significant steps since June
to combat trafficking in persons (TIP). The government
increased public awareness of the problem, reached out to
source and destination countries, and established a national
plan. The GOE has cooperated with the International Labor
Organization (ILO) to establish a center for TIP victims in
Machala. The government has trained police and other
employees about TIP. Congress debated the first draft of an
anti-trafficking bill, and in the meantime judges have
prosecuted child pornographers under existing laws. The
police have stepped up raids on nightclubs and bars where
minors work as prostitutes, returning numerous TIP victims to
their families. Despite these steps forward, key challenges
remain: passing pending legislation in a distracted Congress
and better victims services. End Summary.

Publicity, the MFA's Outreach, and a National Plan
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. Since the publication of our TIP report in June, the GOE
publicized TIP, created an interagency committee to draft a
national plan, and reached out to other governments. On
August 18, President Gutierrez issued a presidential decree
that established a national plan and an interagency committee
to combat trafficking (Ref G); he told the Ambassador on
October 27 that combating TIP is one of his government's
highest priorities (Ref H). The decree tasked government
agencies to cooperate to solve the problem and helped the
government focus its efforts in a coordinated manner. Former
Minister of Government Raul Baca also spoke out publicly at a
police training session against TIP on September 23 (Ref B).
On August 12, the Ministry of Government (MoG) placed a
front-page story in Ecuador's largest newspaper highlighting
the ILO study and recent law enforcement activities aimed at
combating commercial sexual exploitation of minors (CSEM)
(Ref C). During the week of October 4, 60 Voice of America
radio stations in Ecuador aired an editorial against TIP (Ref
D). In early October, the MFA met with the embassies of Peru
and Spain and discussed ways to combat trafficking rings.

NGOs' Contributions and Training
--------------------------------

3. The GOE has cooperated with various NGOs who are actively
involved in fighting TIP. The ILO will fund, at the GOE's
request, a model facility for TIP victims in Machala in
January 2005. Plans are underway for similar projects in
Quito and Guayaquil (Ref F). In September and October, the
MoG and ILO trained 250 police officers on CSEM (Ref C). In
November Geneva Global began its search for local partners in
its small grants program, and Child Defense International met
with the municipality of Santo Domingo on November 11 to sign
the agreement to begin a project to fight commercial sexual
exploitation of minors (CSEM). That project included the
establishment of a computerized control and monitoring system
to track victims' cases and disseminate information regarding
CSEM. Conferences were held in Cuenca (June 30 - July 1) by
the President of the Ecuadorian Supreme Court and in Quito
(October 21 - 22) by the MFA to increase awareness of the
problem and encourage coordination among the GOE, NGOs and
international organizations (Refs E and F).

Legislation, Prosecution, and Raids
-----------------------------------

4. The government has introduced comprehensive anti-TIP
legislation, which is pending in Congress; meanwhile the
government has prosecuted the cases it can using existing
legislation. On October 20, Congress debated the first draft
of the anti-TIP legislation (Ref F). Congress is expected to
approve the legislation in January 2005, according to the GOE
and Congressional sources. The American Bar Association is
currently reviewing the draft legislation to ensure it meets
international standards. In a key TIP-related case, the
perpetrators in the Burdet-Cedeno child pornography ring were
convicted on four charges with sentences of 12 to 25 years
(Refs D and F). Ecuadorian citizen and U.S. legal permanent
resident Angel Mariscal was also sentenced to 100 years on 7
charges of child pornography (Ref D). However, the case of
AmCit Joseph Day is no longer moving forward; we believe he
may be released if no substantive charges are brought against
him.

5. Meanwhile, the police child protection unit, DINAPEN,
dramatically stepped-up raids on nightclubs and discotheques
to seek TIP victims. From June 4 - August 7, the police
engaged in law enforcement activities at 75 establishments
and rescued minors in 25 of these locations, where
prostitution is believed to occur. From August 14 - October
21, DINAPEN raided 202 nightclubs and bars and found 246
minors who are believed to have engaged in prostitution.

6. Comment: Ecuador has made significant progress on TIP but
much more remains to be done. The resignation of Government
Minister Raul Baca on November 8 was a temporary setback for
TIP efforts; Baca told the Ambassador on November 10 that he
sought to continue to promote anti-TIP coordination in an
advisory capacity and by involving the MFA and National
Council on Women in the national planning process. We will
engage shortly with Baca's successor to promote continued
anti-TIP progress. National Council on Women Director Rocio
Rosero will also play a key role in the interagency process;
we will work with her and other committee members to ensure
continued progress. In sum, we believe Ecuador is on the
right track and is committed at the highest levels to
furthering its progress on this issue.
KENNEY

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