CHILE (Tier 2)
Chile is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and labor exploitation. Most victims of sex trafficking are Chilean women and girls who are trafficked within the country. Chileans also are trafficked for sexual and labor exploitation to neighboring countries such as Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia, in addition to Europe, Japan, and the United States. Foreign victims from neighboring countries and Asian countries such as the P.R.C. are lured to Chile with false job offers and subsequently coerced into prostitution. Migrants from Peru and Bolivia, including children, may be subjected to involuntary servitude in agriculture in northern Chile. Chinese nationals are reportedly smuggled through Chile en route to Mexico, Brazil, and the United States; some may be trafficking victims.
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. Throughout the last year, the government strengthened victim-protection efforts and made solid law enforcement and prevention efforts to combat trafficking crimes. At the same time, however, Chilean authorities report difficulties with obtaining sufficient sentences against trafficking offenders in court.
Recommendations for Chile: Enact anti-trafficking legislation that prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons, in conformity with the UN TIP Protocol; increase law enforcement and judicial training in preparation for implementing the new legislation; and encourage investigation and prosecution of human trafficking crimes.
The Government of Chile sustained law enforcement efforts against traffickers during the reporting period. Chile does not prohibit all forms of human trafficking, though it criminalizes transnational trafficking for sexual exploitation through Article 367 of its penal code. Penalties prescribed under this statute range from three to 20 years' imprisonment, depending on whether aggravated circumstances exist. Such penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave 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 do not. The government's statutory framework does not specifically prohibit labor trafficking. Anti-trafficking legislation has been drafted and passed the Chamber of Deputies in April 2007, and is now pending before the Chilean Senate. During the reporting period, the government opened 138 trafficking investigations, initiated 51 prosecutions, and obtained 22 convictions for commercial sexual exploitation of minors and one conviction for cross-border trafficking for sexual exploitation which resulted in a three-year sentence. The cross-border conviction was noteworthy because it involved the recruitment of Peruvian women into forced prostitution through an employment agency that the police exposed through an undercover investigation. Of the government's 138 investigations, 95 investigations related to child prostitution, and the government obtained six convictions and sentences ranging from 300 days' to five years' imprisonment. Sixty-six investigations remained open as of March 2008. The government increased anti-trafficking training of government officials across the country, and also worked closely with neighboring governments, Spain, and Interpol on international trafficking cases. There were no reported investigations of government officials for complicity with trafficking during the reporting period.
The Chilean government strengthened its efforts to assist trafficking victims over the last year. The government systematically identified and referred trafficking victims to NGOs and shelters, where they received housing, medical care, psychological counseling, and support. Interpreter services and legal assistance also are available. In October 2007, the government launched a program to assist child victims of all forms of abuse, including child trafficking victims, across the country. The government allocated $1.5 million to NGOs to establish the program last year, which anticipates serving 1,800 child victims in 2008. Police also instituted more victim-sensitive interviewing techniques: for example, establishing a special room for interviewing trafficking victims, use of two-way mirrors so victims could identify a suspected exploiter without fear of retribution, and minimizing multiple victim interviews through use of video-recording equipment. Chilean authorities encourage victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. There were no confirmed 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. The government works with foreign governments and IOM to facilitate the safe return of Chileans trafficked abroad, and of foreign victims trafficked into Chile.
The government increased prevention efforts during the reporting period. The government conducted widespread education and media campaigns, targeting some to young Chileans seeking work abroad. The government also continued joint awareness-raising projects with NGOs and international organizations. The government made solid efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex acts through its law enforcement efforts targeting clients of child prostitution. In separate prosecutions, six men were convicted of purchasing sex with a minor – two cases involved use of children in pornography – resulting in sentences ranging from 61 days' to six years' imprisonment. Chilean troops departing for international peacekeeping duties attended mandatory pre-deployment training on trafficking in persons, human rights, and compliance with international laws. Chilean troops in Haiti are required to comply with rules of conduct enforced by UN police and the UN Force Commander.