Last Updated: Monday, 30 November 2015, 07:08 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ecuador

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 3 June 2005
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ecuador, 3 June 2005, available at: [accessed 30 November 2015]
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)

Ecuador is a source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Many victims are children trafficked for sexual exploitation; in 2003, the ILO estimated that over 5,000 minors in Ecuador were being exploited in prostitution. Poverty drives some poor rural families to send children to work on banana plantations or in small-scale mines and to urban areas where traffickers exploit them. Ecuadorians are trafficked to Western Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, and to other countries in Latin America. Colombians cross the border into Ecuador to engage in prostitution and many are believed to have been trafficked. Ecuador's lax border controls make it a point of origin and transit for illegal migrants; the use of alien smuggling operations by migrants increases their vulnerability to being trafficked.

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. President Gutierrez issued a decree in August 2004 that recognized the trafficking problem, established an interinstitutional committee, and assigned the Minister of Government responsibility to head efforts to combat trafficking, but no discernable progress was made during the reporting period in identifying victims and prosecuting those who exploit them. The government should develop, publicize, and implement a comprehensive anti-trafficking policy; strengthen laws to prohibit trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation of minors; and formulate a law enforcement strategy for identifying victims and prosecuting traffickers.


The Government of Ecuador failed to make significant law enforcement efforts against trafficking over the last year. DINAPEN, the national police agency charged with protecting children, received anti-trafficking training and conducted raids of bars, nightclubs, and brothels suspected of exploiting children, but DINAPEN officers failed to confirm whether children removed from premises had been sexually exploited. The National Congress passed few laws during the reporting period, and changes to the penal code that include provisions against trafficking and to raise the age of consent remained pending in Congress at the end of the reporting period. The constitution specifically prohibits slavery and trafficking in all forms, but no traffickers were prosecuted or convicted. Law enforcement focused considerable efforts on dismantling alien smuggling operations, but did not apply the same effort toward identifying and rescuing migrant trafficking victims. There was no confirmed evidence of government involvement in or tolerance of trafficking, but corruption is a pervasive problem.


The national government had only limited ability to support social programs and did not fund programs to assist trafficking victims during the reporting period. No minors engaging in prostitution were detained. Minors picked up in raids were typically returned to their families and only referred to NGOs when returning home was not possible. Due to resource constraints, the government afforded little protection to witnesses of crimes, including trafficking victims, and no assistance to repatriated trafficking victims.


The Government of Ecuador lacked policies or programs to prevent trafficking. The interinstitutional committee on trafficking started drafting a national plan to address trafficking, child sexual exploitation, and child labor, but the draft plan was incomplete and not ready to implement. The government continued work with donors and international organizations like the ILO on programs to keep children in school and assist those at risk of child labor, but it undertook no prevention measures focused on trafficking.

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