Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Chile

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 19 June 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report - Chile, 19 June 2012, available at: [accessed 21 January 2018]
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 sex trafficking and forced labor. Within the country, victims are often Chilean women and girls exploited in sex trafficking. To a limited extent, Chilean women and girls also are subjected to sex trafficking in other countries, including neighboring countries and Spain. Women and girls from other Latin American countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia are lured to Chile by fraudulent job offers and subsequently coerced into prostitution or domestic servitude. During the year, three Indonesian women fled from alleged situations of domestic servitude in Chile. Foreign victims of labor trafficking, primarily from Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and China, have been identified in Chile's mining and agricultural sectors. In 2011, Chilean authorities identified 52 Paraguayans in forced labor in a vineyard. Chilean authorities identified an increasing number of children involved in illicit activities, including the transportation of illegal drugs; some of these children may have been coerced or forced.

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. During the reporting period, Chilean authorities investigated several labor trafficking cases using Chile's new anti-trafficking law, increased efforts to assist adult trafficking victims, and continued to provide specialized services for children exploited in commercial sex. The government maintained efforts to convict child sex trafficking offenders. However, specialized services for adult victims were minimal. Authorities lacked formal victim identification and referral mechanisms, and interagency coordination was strengthened but remained insufficient.

Recommendations for Chile: Strengthen victim protection efforts, particularly for victims of forced labor and for adult victims of forced prostitution, and ensure victim access to shelters and comprehensive services through increased funding and referral protocols; maintain efforts to investigate and prosecute all forms of human trafficking offenses and convict and punish trafficking offenders; continue to proactively investigate possible cases of forced labor; establish formal victim identification and referral protocols for frontline responders; strengthen training for police officers, immigration officials, labor inspectors, social workers, and judicial officials on how to identify and respond to all forms of human trafficking; continue to enhance interagency coordination mechanisms; consider creating a national strategy or plan to combat trafficking; and increase public awareness about all forms of human trafficking.


The Government of Chile maintained law enforcement efforts against sex trafficking offenders during the reporting period and investigated several forced labor cases under the new anti-trafficking law. Law 20.507, enacted in April 2011, prohibits all forms of human trafficking, as well as human smuggling. The law prescribes penalties ranging from five years and a day in prison to 15 years of imprisonment, plus fines, for trafficking offenses. Such penalties are sufficiently stringent and are commensurate with those for other serious crimes, such as rape. The new law also authorizes the use of undercover agents and wire tapping, which officials reported using in some cases during the year. The government established a trafficking and smuggling police unit in 2011 composed of six officers.

During the reporting period, authorities investigated 46 cases of transnational sex trafficking and 104 cases of promoting or facilitating child prostitution using previous statutes. As the prior transnational sex-trafficking statute also criminalized moving people across borders for the purposes of prostitution, it was unclear how many of those investigations involved sex trafficking as defined in the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. Authorities investigated several labor and sex trafficking cases under the new law and initiated at least three prosecutions; one case involved a former senator and presidential candidate accused of forced labor crimes. Chilean courts achieved four convictions under the transnational sex-trafficking statute, and reported 30 convictions for the facilitation or promotion of prostitution of minors. Authorities did not report the range of sentences for these convictions. This compares with 39 convictions achieved under those statutes in 2010.

There were no reported investigations, prosecutions, or convictions for official complicity related to human trafficking. During the year, authorities provided specialized training on trafficking for prosecutors and social workers.


The Chilean government delivered comprehensive victim services to child sex trafficking victims, but offered few specialized services to adult sex trafficking victims and victims of forced labor. The government did not employ systematic procedures to proactively identify trafficking victims among vulnerable populations or to refer them to services, although some agencies reported having guidelines for victim identification. However, authorities did not report how many victims were identified in Chile during the reporting period.

Chilean law mandates the provision of medical care, psychological counseling, and witness protection services to adult victims of trafficking who assist in trafficking investigations, and authorities reported providing this to victims during the year. NGOs and some officials, however, noted a lack of adequate services and shelters for trafficking victims. The National Service for Minors (SENAME) provided services to child victims of sex trafficking through its national network of 16 walk-in centers for children subjected to commercial sexual exploitation, and reported assisting 1,168 child victims in 2011, some of whom were likely trafficking victims. SENAME had a budget of approximately $2.6 million in 2011 for these NGO-administered centers. SENAME also funded one residential shelter exclusively for child sex trafficking victims and provided child trafficking victims with legal services. Adult sex trafficking victims generally were referred to NGOs and international organizations, some of which received government funding. These organizations also aided foreign trafficking victims with voluntary repatriation. There were no specialized shelters for adult trafficking victims, but the government planned to fund a dedicated shelter for female adult trafficking victims which an NGO would operate; this shelter was slated to open in 2012. Specialized assistance to forced labor victims was limited; however, authorities provided Paraguayans found in forced labor in a vineyard with temporary lodging at a hotel, as well as food and medical attention.

Chilean authorities encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. Foreign victims were eligible for temporary residency with the right to work for a minimum six-month period while they decide whether to participate in judicial proceedings, and six victims received this residency during the reporting period. The law also establishes foreign victims' rights to take steps toward regularizing their legal status in Chile.


The government sustained awareness efforts during the reporting period and increased interagency coordination. The Interagency Working Group on Trafficking in Persons met once in 2011, while its directing committee met on a monthly basis and conducted an internal analysis of existing anti-trafficking efforts. Lack of effective collaboration and protocols between different government agencies continue to be a challenge. SENAME continued to raise awareness about child prostitution through awareness campaigns. Authorities provided anti-trafficking training to Chilean troops prior to their deployment abroad for international peacekeeping missions. The government prosecuted individuals for soliciting sexual services from children. No specific efforts to reduce demand for forced labor were reported.

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