Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Chile

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 14 June 2010
Cite as United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 - Chile, 14 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c188400c.html [accessed 30 August 2014]
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.

CHILE (Tier 2)

Chile is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution and forced labor. Within the country, many victims are Chilean women and girls who respond to false job offers and subsequently are subjected to forced prostitution. To a limited extent, Chilean women and girls also are trafficked for forced prostitution and forced labor to neighboring countries such as Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia, as well as Spain. Women and girls from Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, and other Latin American countries, in addition to China, are lured to Chile with fraudulent job offers and subsequently coerced into prostitution or involuntary domestic servitude. Foreign victims of labor trafficking, primarily from Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and China, have been identified in Chile's mining and agricultural sectors. There are reports that children are recruited against their will as drug mules along the borders with Bolivia and Peru. Some Chinese nationals are consensually smuggled through Chile en route to Latin American countries and the United States; some fall victim to human trafficking.

The Government of Chile does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Last year, the government increased law enforcement efforts against sex trafficking offenders and forged partnerships with foreign governments. Chilean authorities continued to report difficulties with prosecuting labor trafficking crimes and the internal trafficking of adults due to statutory gaps in Chile's anti-trafficking laws. This remains a considerable limitation in light of the number of labor trafficking victims identified by a prominent international organization.

Recommendations for Chile: Enact anti-trafficking legislation to prohibit all forms of human trafficking; intensify law enforcement efforts against trafficking offenders, especially labor trafficking offenders; train government officials on how to identify and respond to cases of labor trafficking and internal sex trafficking of adults; strengthen victim protection efforts, particularly for labor trafficking victims; and increase public awareness about all forms of human trafficking.

Prosecution

The Government of Chile increased law enforcement efforts against sex trafficking offenders during the reporting period. Chilean law does not prohibit all forms of human trafficking, though it criminalizes transnational movement of persons for purposes of prostitution through Article 367 of its penal code. In addition to human trafficking, this statute encompasses consensual smuggling for the purpose of prostitution, which does not fall within the international definition of human trafficking. Penalties prescribed under this statute range from three to 20 years of imprisonment, depending on whether aggravated circumstances exist. In cases of internal trafficking of children for forced prostitution, prosecutors could use sections of Article 361 of the penal code which address sexual crimes against children and prescribe penalties ranging from 10 to 20 years. Such penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. In practice, however, because sentences of less than five years are often suspended in Chile, and the minimum penalty for rape is five years and a day, individuals convicted of rape typically receive jail time whereas trafficking offenders often do not. The government's anti-trafficking statutory framework does not criminalize labor trafficking or the internal sex trafficking of adults; law enforcement officials report difficulties with investigating and prosecuting these allegations. Draft legislation which would prohibit labor trafficking and increase the minimum sentence for human trafficking, originally proposed in 2002, is being reviewed by the Senate.

During the reporting period, the government opened 128 trafficking-related investigations: 108 for promoting or facilitating prostitution of children, and 22 for cross-border sex trafficking. Chilean courts obtained 34 convictions over the past year: eight for promoting or facilitating prostitution of children, and 26 for cross-border sex trafficking. These numbers represent an increase in both investigations and convictions compared with the previous year. During the reporting period, the government charged six active police officials with facilitating prostitution of children. The Chilean government signed partnership agreements on anti-trafficking law enforcement with Paraguay, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic, and provided training to 250 prosecutors in those countries.

Protection

The Chilean government delivered comprehensive victim services to children who were victims of commercial sexual exploitation, and provided some services to adult trafficking victims, although there were no specialized services for labor trafficking victims. In partnership with IOM, the Government of Chile conducted eight training sessions throughout the country on trafficking victim identification and treatment; over 600 prosecutors, police, and immigration officials participated. In July 2009, the government implemented a plan to investigate high risk areas for child prostitution; prosecutors worked with the police to map the most common areas for commercial sex acts and directed increased resources to detect child prostitution. The National Service for Minors operated two residential shelters exclusively for child victims of commercial sexual exploitation, in addition to providing victim services through its national network of residential shelters and walk-in centers for at-risk youth, with a total capacity for 700 children. The National Service for Minors also provided child trafficking victims with legal services. Adult sex trafficking victims were referred to NGOs and international organizations, who also aided foreign victims in the repatriation process. Female victims were also eligible for services at one of 25 government run women's shelters as well as all public health services; however, the government did not operate any specialized shelters for adult trafficking victims. Despite credible reports of labor trafficking in the mining sector, labor trafficking victims often were not protected because labor trafficking is not a crime in Chile.

Chilean authorities encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. The government provided medical care, psychological counseling, and witness protection services to adult victims of sex trafficking assisting in trafficking investigations, and foreign victims were eligible for these services. Foreign sex trafficking victims may remain in Chile during legal proceedings against their exploiters, and can later apply for residency status. Chilean law states that these victims may face deportation to their country of origin once legal proceedings are finished, although in practice they are not deported. The Public Ministry developed an agreement with the Ministry of Interior to secure humanitarian visas for trafficking victims who wish to stay in Chile during a trial, and some foreign victims received these visas during the reporting period.

Prevention

The government sustained prevention efforts during the reporting period by conducting anti-trafficking education and outreach campaigns: almost all of these efforts, however, focused on the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The National Service for Minors continued to raise awareness about child prostitution through its "There is No Excuse" campaign, and launched an Internet campaign on the same topic. Immigration documents for travelers arriving in Chile include information about the penalties for commercial sexual exploitation of children. The government forged partnerships with NGOs, international organizations and foreign governments in implementing these prevention efforts. The government gave mandatory anti-trafficking and human rights training to Chilean troops prior to their deployment for international peacekeeping missions. In an effort to reduce the demand for commercial sex, courts prosecuted individuals for commercial sexual exploitation of children. No specific efforts to reduce demand for forced labor were reported.

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