Last Updated: Wednesday, 01 June 2016, 07:13 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - El Salvador

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - El Salvador, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 1 June 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.

El Salvador (Tier 2)

El Salvador is a source, transit and destination country for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Salvadorans are trafficked to other Central American countries, Mexico, and the United States. Nicaraguans, Hondurans and South American nationals are trafficked to or through El Salvador. Women and children are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation.

The Government of El Salvador does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so despite limited resources. The government recognizes that trafficking in persons is a problem. It fights trafficking by enforcing its anti-migrant smuggling law, cooperating with NGOs and attempting to enforce child labor standards.


Government agencies and NGOs have worked together on information campaigns against trafficking. For instance, the government has sponsored television public service messages to discourage illegal migration and warn potential victims, as well as newspaper advertisements condemning the sexual exploitation of children. Labor ministry officials cooperate with the ILO to formulate policies that address the worst forms of child labor.


Two laws prohibit trafficking. Although there have been no arrests for trafficking per se, the authorities have prosecuted migrant smugglers who might have been involved in trafficking.

There is no evidence that the government is involved in or tolerates trafficking, and no officials have been charged for violating trafficking statutes. However, individual police officers, migration officials and politicians are under investigation in migrant smuggling cases. The anti-migrant smuggling unit is also responsible for combating trafficking. Although airport controls are adequate, the government is not able to adequately control or monitor its land and maritime borders.


The government provides legal, medical, and psychological assistance to detained illegal migrants, including those who might be trafficking victims. However, the government does not determine who among the detained might be a trafficking victim, and does not encourage foreign trafficking victims to assist in investigations. Although foreign victims are not treated as criminals, the quick deportation process prevents them from filing a civil suit or pursuing legal action against traffickers. The government funds foreign and domestic NGOs that provide services to illegal migrants who might also be trafficking victims. A government agency provides protection, counseling, and legal assistance to abused, homeless, and neglected children, including those who might also be trafficking victims. Repatriated Salvadorans, including those who may have been trafficking victims, receive government assistance. Salvadoran diplomats are provided with instructional materials to alert them to the problems of migrants; some of these migrants might also be trafficking victims.

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