Last Updated: Friday, 22 August 2014, 14:01 GMT

2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cuba

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 19 June 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Cuba, 19 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe30cd3b.html [accessed 22 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

CUBA (Tier 3)

Cuba is a source country for adults and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Prostitution of children reportedly occurs in Cuba, and the country's laws do not appear to penalize prostitution of children between the ages of 16 and 18. There have been past instances of Cuban citizens forced into prostitution abroad. There have also been allegations of coerced labor, particularly with Cuban work missions abroad. Some Cubans working abroad have stated that postings are voluntary and well paid; however, others have claimed that their passports have been withheld by Cuban authorities and movement restricted. The scope of trafficking involving Cuban citizens is particularly difficult to gauge due to the closed nature of the government and sparse non-governmental or independent reporting.

The Government of Cuba does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Although media sources reported the government prosecuted and convicted three sex traffickers in 2011, the government did not respond to requests for information on such sex trafficking and forced labor prosecutions or on trafficking-specific victim protection and prevention efforts that occurred during the reporting period.

Recommendations for Cuba: Prohibit sex trafficking of all persons under the age of 18; in partnership with trafficking victim specialists, ensure adults and children have access to specialized trafficking victim protection and assistance; take measures to ensure identified sex and labor trafficking victims are not punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked; and publicize measures to address human trafficking, including prosecution data, protection efforts, and prevention measures.

Prosecution

The Government of Cuba did not report on its efforts to prosecute trafficking offenses that occurred during the reporting period. Cuba appears to prohibit most forms of trafficking activity through various provisions of its penal code; however, the use of these provisions could not be verified, and prostitution of children age 16 and older is not prohibited, leaving those children particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking. The government did not share official data for the reporting period relating to Cuban investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of trafficking offenders, including any officials complicit in human trafficking, in 2011. In a positive step toward transparency, the government reported it had prosecuted two sex trafficking cases in previous years. The media reported that the government convicted and handed down lengthy prison sentences to several people involved with organizing and benefiting financially from child prostitution, a form of sex trafficking. The government did not report any specific anti-trafficking training provided to officials in 2011.

Protection

The government did not publicize official data on protection of trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government did not report any trafficking victim identifications or procedures in place to guide officials in proactively identifying trafficking victims among vulnerable groups – such as persons in prostitution – and referring them to available services. The government operated three well-regarded facilities for the treatment of children who have been sexually and physically abused. In addition, the government operated a nationwide network of shelters for victims of domestic violence or child abuse, but the government did not verify if trafficking victims received treatment in these centers. The government provided no evidence that it encouraged trafficking victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking offenders. The government did not report on the existence of any policies to ensure that identified trafficking victims were not punished for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked.

Prevention

The government did not report any anti-trafficking prevention efforts that occurred during the reporting period. The government did not implement any known public awareness campaigns to prevent forced labor or forced prostitution. The government did not report the existence of an anti-trafficking task force, anti-trafficking action plan, or monitoring mechanism. Transparency was lacking in the government's trafficking-related policies and activities; it did not report publicly on its efforts. The government made no known efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex. The government has not reported identification of a child sex tourism problem involving its nationals or within Cuba, though there were indications that child sex tourism was a problem. Cuba is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.

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