U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Chile

Chile (Tier 2)

Chile is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Most victims are Chilean minors trafficked internally for sexual exploitation. Chileans are also trafficked to Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, the United States, Europe, and Asia for sexual and labor exploitation. Foreign victims are brought to Chile for commercial sexual exploitation or involuntary domestic servitude from Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, and China.

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. The government made strong efforts to identify child victims and to support NGO programs that assisted trafficking victims. The government designated an agency to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts, began central collection of case data, and investigated a number of cases involving the trafficking of minors and women for sexual exploitation. The government should criminalize all forms of trafficking and increase efforts to train officials, raise public awareness, and prosecute traffickers.


The Government of Chile made modest progress on improving law enforcement efforts during the reporting period. After ratifying the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime in November 2004, the government began reforms to bring Chile's laws into compliance with Protocol standards. Existing laws against trafficking, focused on movement of persons across borders for prostitution, were supplemented by laws against acts of violence and the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. Chile lacked statutes against internal trafficking, making it difficult to gather trafficking case data, but the government designated an anti-trafficking coordinator in the Interior Ministry who worked with the Public Ministry to start gathering information on new cases investigated and prosecuted. From May 2005 through March 2006, 83 new cases were opened, with 50 pending active investigations, and 14 prosecutions were initiated by the period's end. All but six of the new trafficking-related cases dealt with commercial sexual exploitation of minors. No information was available regarding the status of cases initiated, in previous years. There were no reports of government officials investigated or prosecuted for complicity in trafficking.


The Chilean Government made substantial efforts to assist trafficking victims during the reporting year. Child victims trafficked into sexual exploitation received counseling, psychological and health care, and educational courses in NGO-operated centers for abused and exploited children. The government gave $2 million to 16 NGOs that implement victim-assistance programs in 12 districts of the country. Police officials who identified child trafficking victims referred them to family courts for placement in protective custody with foster families, relatives, or shelters and put victims in contact with NGOs. The government worked with Bolivian and Argentine authorities to coordinate the safe repatriation of foreign victims. There were no reports that the government punished victims for unlawful acts that were a direct result of their being trafficked. Trafficking victims may remain in Chile during legal proceedings against their traffickers. Victims can also bring legal action against traffickers and seek restitution. The government had no residence visa program for foreign trafficking victims, but granted temporary residence to at least one victim to avoid returning her to potential re-victimization in her home country. Once their traffickers have been prosecuted, victims must apply for residency or risk deportation.


The government made modest but increased prevention efforts during the reporting year. The Public Ministry trained hundreds of law enforcement agents to recognize and investigate potential trafficking and trained prosecutors to more effectively prosecute cases. The National Women's Service raised trafficking awareness and provided information on victim's rights and the prosecution of traffickers to 100 officials and 160 civic activists in the cities of Iquique and Arica.


This 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.