Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ecuador

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 14 June 2004
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ecuador, 14 June 2004, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
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.

Ecuador (Tier 3)

[*Please note: Ecuador was updated to Tier 2 Watch List per President George W. Bush, Presidential Determination No. 2004-46, September 10, 2004.]

Ecuador is a source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Most victims are children internally trafficked for prostitution; the ILO esti-mates that 5,200 minors are engaged in the sex industry. Ecuadorians are trafficked to Western Europe, particularly Spain. Because of Ecuador's lax border controls, many illegal migrants transit the country; some of these migrants may be trafficked. More complete information, pointing to a significant number of victims, has made it possible to include Ecuador in this report for the first time.

The Government of Ecuador does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. Because there has been very limited information on trafficking until the release of an ILO report in late 2003, the government is only beginning to grapple with this challenge, including a serious problem with the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. Government leaders need to develop, publicize, and implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking policy and expand efforts to work with anti-trafficking NGOs. Ecuador should update and enforce its laws and prosecute traffickers who lure minors into prostitution. Ecuador needs to devote more resources to investigations and expand cooperation with Spain and other destination countries to detect and eliminate trafficking rings.


The Government of Ecuador failed to make significant law enforcement efforts to directly combat trafficking in 2003. Ecuador lacks an anti-trafficking law enforcement strategy and has not con-ducted any arrests, prosecutions, or sentencing of traffickers. A number of existing laws – such as the statutes penalizing trafficking-like abuses during migrant smuggling – could be used against traffickers. In fact, the government significantly improved its arrests and prosecutions of illegal alien smugglers in 2003, which may help combat trafficking. Documented cases of Ecuadorians trafficked to Spain have not yet resulted in any law enforcement in Ecuador against the traffickers. The government should seek more assistance from Spain on these cases. Penal sanctions are not being applied against internal traffickers of minors for commercial sexual exploitation.


The national government has no general policy to assist trafficking victims, but is committed to develop a program to assist children. The government has committed to working with the ILO to combat commercial sexual exploitation of minors, including developing protection and prevention programs for victims. Due partly to resource restraints, the government currently has no national policy to operate victim shelters, or to cooperate with those that do, although the city of Quito is working with international donors to develop shelters for exploited minors. The government has no policy to assist Ecuadorians trafficked abroad, but maintains that in practice it renders assistance to any of its citizens victimized abroad and that repatriated citizens are helped on an as-needed basis. The government has no data on foreign victims and provides no training to officials on how to assist them.


The Ecuadorian Government has no specific policies or programs to prevent trafficking. The government conducts several programs to keep children in school and to assist those at risk of child labor, but these measures are not specifically designed to prevent trafficking. In the past, the National Institute for Children and the Family conducted information campaigns in selected cities to keep minors out of the sex trade, but those measures ended in 2002.

Search Refworld