U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ecuador
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||5 June 2006|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Ecuador, 5 June 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4680d8862.html [accessed 28 November 2014]|
Ecuador (Tier 2)
Ecuador is a source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Many victims are children trafficked for sexual exploitation. Ecuadorians are trafficked to Western Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, and Colombia and Venezuela. Traffickers also move Colombian women and girls to Ecuador for exploitation in prostitution. However, most victims are trafficked within the country's borders. Child sex tourism is also a problem.
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. Ecuador moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2 as a result of clear progress in several key areas. The government enacted anti-trafficking legislation and took steps to identify trafficking situations, arrest and prosecute traffickers, assist victims, and raise public awareness. The government should provide sufficient staff, training, and resources to ensure that traffickers face prompt prosecution, and it should continue working with civil society to train officials, 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. A trafficking law passed in June 2005 prohibits all forms of trafficking, raises the legal age for prostitution to 18, and establishes sentences of up to 35 years in prison. Since enactment of the law, trafficking investigations have increased. A 10-member investigative unit in DINAPEN, the national police agency charged with protecting children, and a special police intelligence unit dedicated to actions against trafficking and alien smuggling, actively pursue trafficking investigations. The Attorney General's office reported 41 arrests and 15 trafficking cases involving adolescent Ecuadorian and foreign girls and women trafficked for sexual exploitation that reached some stage of prosecution during the reporting period. One trafficker was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment in June 2005. An official has been tasked with tracking data on trafficking cases, and the Attorney General appointed special prosecutors in Quito and Guayaquil to handle trafficking cases. Although corruption is a problem in general, there were no reports of government officials involved in or prosecuted for trafficking.
The Ecuadorian Government stepped up efforts to identify and assist trafficking victims during the reporting year. The Victim and Witness Protection Program, administered by the Public Ministry, assisted 32 trafficking victims. Although the Program is not uniquely designed for trafficking victims, it works with government agencies and NGOs to provide shelter, police protection, psychological and medical care, economic assistance, employment assistance, and educational support for children to victims willing to assist in investigations and prosecutions. The Program provided funds to, and had contractual agreements with, NGOs and other service providers. There were no reports of victims jailed or deported. The government assisted in the repatriation of one victim from the United States.
The government launched a national public awareness campaign in January 2006 and made significant efforts to prevent trafficking in the latest months of the reporting period. Government leaders, including the President, the First Lady, and cabinet members brought national attention to the country's trafficking problem. The National Institute for Children and Family, headed by the First Lady, led initiatives that spread awareness through radio, television, skits, information booths at concerts and fairs, buttons, shirts, and billboards. The government also reached agreements with several private companies to include anti-trafficking messages at public theaters, through fliers distributed with bank and credit card statements, and on board local air flights. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs trained key officials in Machala and Quito, and provided guidance to Ecuador's embassies on trafficking and how to assist Ecuadorian victims. The government worked closely with NGOs and international organizations to provide training to officials throughout the country regarding new national laws against trafficking.