Cablegate: Raising Awareness of Human Trafficking in Ecuador


DE RUEHQT #1884 2291138
O 171138Z AUG 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary: As part of the American EmbassyQs outreach program,
five embassy summer interns traveled on July 30, 2007 to a shelter
for trafficking victims run by La Fundacisn Nuestros Jsvenes in
Mitad del Mundo, and on August 1 Q 2, 2007 to Casa Condor Community
Center in Riobamba, to promote awareness of trafficking in persons.
The trips served to educate the interns and reinforce Embassy ties
with a shelter for trafficking victims near Quito and with
indigenous youth in the Chimborazo region. The events were well
received by over 70 people, who expressed gratitude for the visit
and presentation. End summary.

La Fundacisn Nuestros Jsvenes

2. (U) La Fundacisn Nuestros Jsvenes is an organization which helps
trafficking victims rehabilitate and eventually integrate into
society after rescue. Embassy Quito interns visited this
organization with a local Peace Corps Volunteer to learn more about
human trafficking in Ecuador. The Nuestros Jsvenes shelter included
spacious living accommodations and an outdoor greenhouse for growing
vegetables. The facilities needed improvement, however, and the
staff expressed a need for funding. The majority of the shelterQs
funding comes from community donations, as the Ecuadorian government
provides no funding. The shelter currently houses thirteen women,
in almost all cases victims of sexual exploitation as a result of
human trafficking. Of the thirteen women, ten have children that
also housed in the shelter.

3. (U) Throughout the shelterQs history, the large majority of
occupants have been Ecuadorian, though there have been a few
Colombians. They are most likely to reach the shelter with the help
of National Police in Ecuador, and are brought from places such as
Santa Domingo de los Colorados and Manabi. Typically they stay at
the shelter for the designated time of 3 months. Officials at
Nuestros Jsvenes described the difficulties of reintegration, the
challenges of privacy, and the safety and security issues
surrounding the victims. They also noted they have a difficult time
convincing victims to stay at the shelter.

Riobamba Outreach Q Trafficking in Persons
--------------------------------------------- ---------

4. (U) On August 2, the interns teamed up with faculty from the
University of San Francisco, Quito, to deliver a presentation on
human trafficking to members of five different indigenous
communities at Casa Condor Community Center in Riobamba. The group
included approximately 40 community leaders and youth from the
Chimborazo plains region of Riobamba. The interns initiated the
discussion using an embassy presentation about the social, economic
and community impact of the problem. They talked about the
difference between illegal migration and trafficking in persons,
along with ways to prevent the victimization of community members.
The seminar also focused on the specific efforts of the governments
of Ecuador and the United States in the fight against human

5. (U) The interns then participated in an education health session
with about 20 indigenous youth to talk briefly about trafficking in
persons. The presentation and visit were well-received by all
members of the community and by the University of San Francisco

6. (U) Comment: The highlight of the trip was the visit to
indigenous communities in one of the poorest areas of Chimborazo.
At Casa Condor, the young people and community leaders were very
receptive to the TIP presentation, but efforts at interaction were
limited in a large-group setting. When interns approached community
members individually after the presentation, it was much easier to
gain peopleQs confidence. Two of the community leaders even
contacted interns a week later to request future TIP presentations
to larger audiences. The interns' outreach project helped the
Mission in its fight against global TIP, developed deeper ties with
the Chimborazo region, and helped the interns to understand the aims
of public diplomacy. End comment.

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