Chile (Tier 2)
Chile is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Most victims of sex trafficking are Chilean women and girls who are trafficked within the country. Chileans are trafficked to neighboring countries, the United States, Spain, and Japan for sexual and labor exploitation. Foreign victims are brought to Chile for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor from Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, and China. Chinese nationals transit Chile en route to Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
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 solid efforts to raise public awareness about the dangers of human trafficking, to coordinate government efforts to combat trafficking, and to support NGO victim-assistance programs. In the coming year, the government should enact comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation to criminalize all forms of trafficking and increase training for judges, police, and key criminal-justice personnel.
The Government of Chile continued to improve its law enforcement efforts against traffickers. Chile does not prohibit all forms of trafficking, though it criminalizes transnational trafficking for sexual exploitation through Article 367 of its penal code. Penalties under this statute range from three to 20 years' imprisonment, depending on whether aggravated circumstances exist. Such penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with penalties for rape and other grave crimes. However, the government does not prohibit labor trafficking and some forms of internal trafficking. A draft anti-trafficking law is now pending before Chile's Chamber of Deputies; it should be passed so that all forms of trafficking are clearly prohibited and punished. During the reporting period, the government opened 13 trafficking investigations, completed two prosecutions, and obtained one conviction, which resulted in a six-year sentence. The government also opened 94 investigations into the promotion and facilitation of child prostitution, obtaining nine convictions. Chilean authorities reported difficulties, however, in obtaining convictions in trafficking cases where witnesses had not been physically victimized or injured. Chilean police engaged in covert anti-trafficking operations and stings and incorporated trafficking into police training programs in 2006. The government works closely with neighboring governments and the United States on international trafficking cases. No government officials were investigated or prosecuted for complicity with trafficking during the reporting period.
The Chilean government made solid efforts to assist trafficking victims during the reporting period. The government systematically identifies and refers trafficking victims to NGOs and shelters, where they receive psychological counseling and support. The government also funds victim-assistance programs and projects. Chilean authorities encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. There were no reports that victims were punished for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked. Trafficking victims may remain in Chile during legal proceedings against their traffickers, and may apply for legal residency. The government works with foreign governments to facilitate the safe return of Chilean victims trafficked abroad.
The government continued prevention efforts during the reporting period. The government conducted regular education and outreach campaigns, which were geared to prevent the sexual exploitation of minors. The government also continued to conduct joint public awareness-raising projects with NGOs and international organizations, and it funded anti-trafficking training programs and projects.