U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ecuador
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ecuador, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3ad23.html [accessed 19 September 2014]|
Ecuador (Tier 2)
Ecuador is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Ecuadorian children are trafficked from coastal and border areas to urban centers for sexual exploitation; some are trafficked to neighboring countries and to Spain. Ecuadorian women are trafficked to Western Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, as well as Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela for sexual exploitation. In addition, Colombian women and adolescent girls are trafficked to Ecuador for sexual exploitation. However, most victims are trafficked within the country's borders.
The Government of Ecuador does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. In 2006, the government passed legislation to close a major legal loophole in the 2005 anti-trafficking law, which had hindered trafficking prosecutions. The government also stepped up prosecutions and investigations of traffickers and intensified training for police, prosecutors, and official personnel. It expanded efforts to raise public awareness and improve protection for victims. The Ecuadorian government committed to combat human trafficking when the former President signed the National Anti-Trafficking in Persons plan in August 2006. The government should strengthen efforts to investigate and convict traffickers, especially in the areas of commercial sexual exploitation of children and child labor. It should continue to work with civil society to train government personnel, raise public awareness, and improve protection for victims.
The Government of Ecuador made significant progress in identifying and punishing acts of trafficking during the reporting period. Its anti-trafficking statute prohibits all forms of trafficking and prescribes punishments of up to 35 years' imprisonment. Since enactment of the law in 2005, trafficking investigations have increased, with more than 100 active investigations now underway. Two separate trafficking prosecutions in 2006, one involving child prostitution and another involving child pornography, resulted in convictions and sentences of 12 years each. Complementing an existing eight-member anti-trafficking police unit in Quito, the government in September 2006 set up a sex-crimes police unit with trafficking responsibilities in Guayas, the most populated province in Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian government committed more resources to identifying and assisting trafficking victims during the last year. The Victim and Witness Protection Program, administered by the Public Ministry, assisted 27 trafficking victims. Although the Program is not exclusively for trafficking victims, it coordinates government agencies and NGOs in providing victims with shelter, police protection, psychological and medical care, economic and employment assistance, and other services. The government doubled the Program's budget in 2006, and has proposed more funding for 2007. The government also launched a second sheltering project for trafficking victims through a national agency, the Institute for Children and Family (INNFA). Ecuadorian authorities encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. In August 2006, the government established a 36-member police unit to provide greater protection for trafficking victims and witnesses across the country. There were no reports of victims jailed, deported, or otherwise penalized. Ecuador does not provide legal alternatives to the removal of foreign victims to countries where they face hardship or retribution.
The government demonstrated significant prevention and public awareness efforts in 2006. High-level government leaders and politicians, including the former President and First Lady, focused national attention on the country's trafficking problem, raising it often in national and international speeches. In early 2007, officials from the administration of President Rafael Correa publicly expressed their commitment to fighting human trafficking. In November 2006, the national agency, INNFA, launched a nationwide $1 million anti-trafficking and anti-smuggling education campaign geared toward vulnerable populations across Ecuador. Postcards, stickers, and informational materials have been distributed to schools in every province. The government also produced anti-trafficking billboards, posters, and radio spots over the last year. The Ministry of Tourism launched a national anti-sex tourism campaign in October 2006 that includes 11 government agencies that signed an agreement to eradicate child sex tourism.