Viewing cable 08SANSALVADOR316

08SANSALVADOR3162008-03-13 21:51:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy San Salvador

DE RUEHSN #0316/01 0732151
P 132151Z MAR 08
E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: STATE 02731 
¶1. (U) The following is post's response to Reftel. The text 
directly tracks reftel Paragraph 27-30 and relevant 
¶2. (SBU) Responses to checklist items follow. Note internal 
paragraph numbering. 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
Paragraph 27 - Overview of activities to eliminate TIP 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
¶A. El Salvador is a country of origin, transit, and 
destination for trafficked persons for the purpose of sexual 
exploitation and forced labor. The majority of victims are 
females -- children and adolescents-- trafficked for 
commercial sexual exploitation. Most TIP victims come from El 
Salvador and other Central American countries. The full 
extent of trafficking in El Salvador is unknown. During the 
reporting period, El Salvador's National Civilian Police 
(PNC) reported that it had investigated TIP cases involving 
49 female and 10 male victims. The Salvadoran TIP shelter 
reported that it has assisted 104 victims since it opened in 
April 2006, the vast majority of whom were children and 
adolescents.  Within El Salvador, the majority of TIP victims 
are women and girls who are trafficked from the countryside 
to population centers to serve as prostitutes.  Sources of 
information on TIP in El Salvador are civil society 
organizations and government agencies including the National 
Civilian Police (PNC), the Salvadoran Institute for the 
Comprehensive Development of Children and Adolescents (ISNA), 
the Attorney General's Office (FGR), and the Salvadoran 
Institute for Women's Development (ISDEMU). 
¶B. The extent of trafficking is unknown, and reliable 
statistics on the problem are not available.  There is no 
evidence that there has been a significant change in the 
scope or type of trafficking during the reporting period. In 
El Salvador, traffickers target females from 12 to 18 years 
old, persons from low-income rural and urban areas, 
adolescents without formal education, unemployed young men, 
and young foreign girls. According to immigration 
authorities, traffickers are often owners of topless bars and 
brothels and employment agencies that offered inducements for 
work in beauty salons, gyms, and factories or as maids or 
models.  During the reporting period, there was some evidence 
that traffickers also offered victims agricultural work. 
According to law enforcement officials, there is some 
evidence that members of organized crime are involved in 
trafficking.  Most victims were Salvadoran nationals, but 
some foreign victims entered into the country on their own 
from Nicaragua, Honduras, and other neighboring countries in 
response to job offers as domestic servants and were forced 
into prostitution upon arrival. 
¶C. The National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons is 
a task force made up of the government agencies responsible 
for addressing trafficking in persons. Its members include 
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, 
Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Labor, National 
Civilian Police, the Attorney General's Office, ISNA, and 
ISDEMU. The Committee collected data on trafficking, and its 
member agencies conducted extensive anti-trafficking 
training, information programs, and provided assistance to 
victims. The coordinating agency is the Ministry of Foreign 
¶D. The government's ability to address trafficking is 
hampered primarily by financial constraints.  It is unable to 
devote sufficient funding toward efforts to prevent 
trafficking, to investigate trafficking cases, and to 
prosecute traffickers.  Corruption in the judiciary also 
undermines public confidence in criminal prosecutions and 
judicial redress for trafficking victims. Although the PNC 
and the Attorney General's office have reinforced their TIP 
units with some human and financial resources, there are no 
designated budgets for TIP within these institutions. 
Additionally, the government lacks the resources to 
strengthen and improve public awareness campaigns and to 
improve attention to victims. 
¶E. The National Plan to Eliminate Trafficking in Persons 
(2008-2010) was drafted in December 2007 and will allow 
Salvadoran agencies to monitor the government's anti-TIP 
efforts. ISNA regularly gathers detailed information on the 
educational level, health status and family status of minor 
TIP victims.  The National Committee to Combat Trafficking in 
Persons meets once a month to monitor Salvadoran efforts to 
combat TIP and to make information available to 
international organizations and the public. Social stigma and 
fear of retribution prevents adequate reporting by TIP 
victims and collection of comprehensive data on TIP. 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
Paragraph 28 - Investigation and prosecution of traffickers 
--------------------------------------------- -------------- 
¶A. Article 367B of the Penal Code specifically prohibits 
trafficking in persons for sexual and non-sexual purposes. 
Article 367C provides increased penalties for aggravated 
circumstances, such as when the accused is an authority 
figure, if the victim is a minor, or if the victim has 
diminished capacity. The law applies to internal and 
transnational trafficking. In addition to trafficking, 
perpetrators can be charged with pandering, deprivation of 
liberty, and child endangerment. 
Article 367B of Salvadoran criminal code states:  The one 
that for himself or as a member of a national or 
international organization for the purpose of obtaining an 
economic benefit recruits, transports, moves, welcomes or 
receives (people), outside or within the national territory, 
to carry out any activity of sexual exploitation, keep them 
in work or forced servitude, in similar practices to slavery, 
or for the extraction of (human) organs, fraudulent 
adoptions, or forced marriages, will be punished by 
imprisonment from four to eight years. When the victim is 
under 18 years or is of diminished mental capacity, the term 
will increase up to one-third of the above mentioned maximum. 
Anyone that facilitates, promotes or supports any of the 
above-mentioned activities will be punished by imprisonment 
from three to six years. When the described actions take 
place in commercial locations or any location that requires a 
special permit from a competent authority, such authority 
will revoke the permit and will proceed to immediately close 
it. (unofficial translation) 
The Spanish text of article 367B of the Salvadoran Criminal 
Code which entered into force in January 2004, is as follows: 
Art. 367B.- El que por si o como miembro de una organizacion 
nacional o internacional con el proposito de obtener un 
beneficio economico reclute, transporte, traslade, acoja o 
recepte personas, dentro o fuera del territorio nacional, 
para ejecutar cualquier actividad de explotacion sexual, 
mantenerlas en trabajos o servicios forzados, en practicas 
analogas a la esclavitud, o para extraccion de organos, 
adopciones fraudulentas o celebracion de matrimonios 
forzados, sera sancionado con pena de cuatro a ocho anos de 
Cuando la victima sea persona menor de dieciocho anos o 
incapaz, la pena se aumentara hasta en una tercera parte del 
maximo senalado. Todo aquel que facilitare, promoviere o 
favoreciere cualquiera de las actividades anteriores sera 
sancionado con pena de tres a seis anos de prision. Cuando 
las acciones descritas se realizaren en locales comerciales o 
de cualquier naturaleza que requiera permiso de autoridad 
competente, esta debera revocarlo procediendo al cierre 
inmediato del mismo. 
Salvadoran law does not provide for civil penalties in TIP 
¶B. Article 367B of the Salvadoran Penal Code provides 
penalties for trafficking for sexual exploitation of four to 
eight years in prison. Penalties can be increased up to one 
third of the maximum penalty if the victim is a minor or the 
trafficker is a public official or law enforcement agent, or 
if the crime was committed as part of abuse of authority in 
domestic, educational or labor relations; or if as a 
consequence of the crime the victim dies or is deprived of 
his or her freedom of transit. 
During 2007 the PNC arrested 27 persons on trafficking 
charges.  The Attorney General's Office prosecuted 46 new 
cases of trafficking and reported that five people were 
convicted and sentenced to six to eight years in prison. 
¶C. Article 367B of the Salvadoran penal code provides 
penalties for trafficking for labor exploitation of four to 
eight years in prison. Penalties can be increased up to one 
third of the maximum penalty if the victim is a minor or the 
trafficker is a public official or law enforcement agent, or 
if the crime was committed as part of abuse of authority in 
domestic, educational or labor relations; or if as a 
consequence of the crime the victim dies or is deprived of 
his or her freedom of transit.  Forced or compulsory labor is 
also prohibited by the Salvadoran Constitution, except in 
cases of public calamity and other instances specified by 
law.  All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery 
are forbidden under a general provision of the Salvadoran 
Constitution, as well as the criminal code. 
¶D. The criminal code provides penalties of 6 to 20 years in 
prison for rape.  If the victim is younger than 15 years old, 
or is of diminished mental capacity, unconcious, or 
incapable of resisting, the sentence rnges from 14 to 20 
years.  The Salvadoran criminl code establishes prison 
sentences from 3 to 10 ears for other types of sexual 
assault. If rape r sexual aggression is committed a member 
of thevictim's family, the penalty could be increased byup 
to one third of the maximum penalty.  Accordig to the Chief 
TIP Prosecutor, Salvadoran prosecutors often prefer to 
prosecute criminals under rape charges rather than TIP 
charges because the mandated sentences are stronger for rape 
¶E. Prostitution is not a crime. Pandering, when a third party 
is involved in arranging a liaison between a prostitute and a 
client, is illegal, as is forced prostitution. In general, 
pandering laws are not enforced.  Prior to the enactment of 
the TIP law in October 2004, TIP cases were typically tried 
as pandering.  For the most part, TIP cases are correctly 
identified as trafficking and prosecuted under the TIP law. 
¶F. During the reporting period, the PNC arrested 27 persons 
on trafficking charges.  The Attorney General's Office 
prosecuted 46 new cases of trafficking. The Attorney General 
reported that five people were convicted on trafficking 
charges and sentenced to between six and eight years in 
¶G. The GOES provides specialized training for government 
officials to recognize, investigate, and prosecute 
trafficking.  Additionally, the Office of International 
Migration (OIM), the International Labor Organization (ILO), 
and the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) have 
trained Salvadoran public officials on TIP. 
¶H. The Salvadoran government cooperates with other 
governments in the investigation and prosecution of 
trafficking cases.  The government reported that during the 
reporting period it cooperated in investigations with the 
United States, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Belize. 
¶I.  To date, no government has requested the extradition of a 
Salvadoran national for trafficking offenses. 
¶J.  Post has no evidence of government involvement in or 
tolerance of trafficking at any level. 
¶K. During the reporting period, we know of one case of a 
government official involved in trafficking.  In February 
2008, one former PNC officer was sentenced to seven years 
imprisonment for TIP. 
¶L. Under a UN mandate, El Salvador has contributed ten 
contingents of troops to peacekeeping operations in Iraq. 
There have been no reports of Salvadoran nationals being 
involved in TIP or exploitation of TIP victims in Iraq. 
¶M. Post has no evidence that El Salvador is a child sex 
tourism destination. 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
Paragraph 29 - Protection and assistance to victims 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
¶A. The government assists foreign trafficking victims by 
providing shelter and counseling.  We have received no 
reports of victims requesting temporary or permanent 
residency status. 
¶B. The government of El Salvador has victim care facilities 
accessible to trafficking victims.  Foreign victims are given 
the same access to care as domestic victims.  The government 
had a specialized facility dedicated to victims of 
trafficking. At present, the shelter, formerly run by Huellas 
Foundation, is being operated by the Salvadoran Institute for 
Comprehensive Development of Children and Adolescents (ISNA), 
an agency that provides care to trafficking victims and to 
children who are orphans, abandoned, or homeless.  The 
government is currently searching for a new facility to house 
TIP victims.  The government of El Salvador did not specify 
the amount of money spent to assist TIP victims.  The 
government has also established a Shelter Committee, which is 
composed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of 
Public Security and Justice through the Migration 
Directorate, ISNA, the Salvadoran Institute for Women's 
Development (ISDEMU), the Attorney General's Office, the PNC, 
the Public Defender's Office, and the International 
Organization for Migration (IOM). 
¶C. During the reporting period, the government terminated its 
contract with the Huellas Foundation to run its TIP shelter. 
The GOES currently administers the facility directly. 
¶D. All minors encountered under suspicious circumstances, 
e.g., in a brothel, are placed in the custody of ISNA whether 
they identify themselves as victims or not. Adults found in 
suspicious circumstances are questioned away from the scene. 
If they identify themselves as victims, they are transferred 
to the TIP shelter for evaluation and treatment. Officers 
from the PNC witness protection program provide 24-hour 
protection to the TIP shelter.  The PNC Border Unit has 
trained personnel to identify TIP victims at the border. 
¶E. The government conducts undercover operations and raids of 
establishments involved in the commercial sex trade to 
ascertain the possibility that prostitutes have been 
trafficked.  The police also act on tips provided by the 
¶F. El Salvador protects TIP victims and they are not subject 
to prosecution or detention.  Foreign victims who request to 
return home without pressing charges are repatriated via the 
Foreign Ministry and the IOM. 
¶G. Victims are encouraged by the government to assist the 
investigation and prosecution of trafficking, although many 
refuse to do so.  During the reporting period, 76 victims 
participated in judicial procedures. Salvadoran law does not 
explicitly grant foreign TIP victims the right to work, but 
we have no knowledge that any TIP victim has ever made that 
request. The GOES does not maintain a victim restitution fund. 
¶H. The government provides security protection to all victims 
and witnesses who request it.  Some were accommodated in a 
special shelter for TIP victims where they received 
psychological and medical care.  The Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs did not provide information on the number of victims 
assisted by government-funded assistance programs or non 
government-funded assistance programs. 
¶I. The government provides training for government officials 
in identifying TIP violations and assisting victims.  The 
government also provides training and assistance to its 
embassies and consulates in foreign countries that are 
destination or transit countries for TIP. Additionally, El 
Salvador is an active member of the Regional Conference on 
Migration.  El Salvador has a TIP agreement with Guatemala, 
and the Salvadoran Consulate in Tapachula, Mexico is part of 
the network against TIP.  El Salvador has drafted guidelines 
for its Foreign Service on combating TIP. 
¶J. The GOES maintains "Protection Consulates" (Consulados de 
Proteccion) along the major human smuggling and trafficking 
routes between El Salvador and the U.S. These consulates 
arrange immediate medical care for all injured Salvadorans, 
including TIP victims. After victims are repatriated, they 
have the option of seeking additional GOES-funded medical 
attention, or returning to their residence. If they are 
indigent, the GOES provides temporary housing, financial, and 
job placement support. 
¶K. The IOM is the most active anti-TIP NGO in El Salvador. In 
addition to providing training, they monitor trafficking 
patterns and fund repatriation of TIP victims. 
Paragraph 30 - Prevention 
¶A. The GOES readily acknowledges TIP as a problem, and 
condemns it in all forms without reservation. 
¶B. During the reporting period, the government ran 
anti-trafficking information and education campaigns.  In 
June 2007, the government, in conjunction with the ILO, 
implemented a pilot program in schools for students from 7th 
to 9th grades.  It trained 701 teachers and 28,040 students. 
Students performed a play that represented the risks and 
disadvantages of sexual commercial exploitation.  The 
government also launched an awareness campaign about the 
risks of illegal migration and TIP.  This campaign was 
launched with the support of IOM, UNICEF, and the ILO.  The 
PNC trained 209 police officers in shelter issues, migrant's 
rights, trafficking in persons, and gender issues. 
Additionally, ISNA, AG, and PNC trained 1377 police officers 
in procedures to combat TIP. 
¶C. The GOES, via the TIP task force, maintains working 
relations with the International Organization for Migration 
(IOM), the International Labor Organization (ILO), UNICEF, 
the InterAmerican Women's Commission, USAID, PASCA (Canadian 
AID), and local NGOs including Save the Children, Catholic 
Relief Services, the Salvadoran National Women's Coordinator 
(CONAMUS), the Institute for Women's Studies (CEMUJER), and 
the Human Rights Institute of the University of Central 
American (IDHUCA). Post has observed that the GOES works well 
with the NGO community and includes them in the formulation 
of policy towards TIP. 
¶D. The PNC and the Directorate General of Migration jointly 
patrol key locations to prevent and combat TIP. Additionally, 
the PNC Border division studies migration profiles in order 
to detect migration flows and to recognize TIP cases.  Border 
personnel conduct careful interviews with adults traveling 
with minors in order to detect irregularities. If necessary, 
cases are referred to the Migration Investigation Unit, which 
has a TIP agent.  If TIP is suspected, the case is referred 
to the PNC. 
¶E. The National Committee Against Trafficking in Persons (the 
TIP task force) is comprised of 15 government agencies 
concerned with trafficking, including: the Foreign Ministry 
(Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores); Ministry of Justice 
(Ministerio de Justicia y Paz); Ministry of Finance 
(Hacienda); Ministry of Education (Educacion); Ministry of 
Labor (Trabajo); Ministry of Health (Salud); Ministry of 
Tourism (Tourismo); the National Civilian Police (Policia 
Nacional Civil); Migration (Migracion); Family Assistance 
(Secretaria Nacional de la Familia); the Attorney General's 
office (Fiscal General); the Public Defender's office 
(Procuraduria General); the National Assembly (Asamblea 
Legislativa); child protective services (Instituto 
Salvadoreno para el Desarollo Integral de la Ninez); and 
women's protective services (Instituto Salvadoreno para el 
Desarollo de la Mujer. The government of El Salvador has a 
coordination and communication protocol that involves all the 
members of the TIP committee. The Foreign Ministry chairs the 
group, while each agency has jurisdiction over its 
responsibilities.  The government has a corruption committee 
coordinated by the National Council for Sustainable 
Development and an Ethics Committee that oversees public 
¶F. The government's national action plan to address TIP, the 
National Plan to Eliminate Trafficking in Persons (2008-2010) 
was drafted in 2007.  The members of the National Committee 
Against TIP were involved in developing the plan. Several 
NGOS were consulted in the process including the Human Rights 
Institute of the Central America University (IDHUCA) and 
CEMUJER, a women's NGO.  The government conducted several 
briefings to disseminate their action plan. 
¶G. The government has launched awareness campaigns and has 
established a reporting hotline under the auspices of the OIM 
and the Border Unit of the PNC. 
¶H. N/A 
¶I. The government did not provide any information on measures 
it has adopted to insure that its nationals who are deployed 
abroad do not engage in or facilitate severe forms of 
trafficking or exploit victims of such trafficking. 
¶3. (U)  Per reftel request, post estimates the following 
personnel time spent on this report: Political Assistant 
(FSN-10) 40 hours, Political Officer (FS-03) 40 hours, Labor 
Officer (FS-04) 4 hours, Political Officer (FS-02) 1 hour, 
Political Counselor (FS-02) 1 hour. 
¶4. (U) Embassy San Salvador POC for trafficking is Political 
Officer/Deputy INL Director John Speaks, Tel.  503-2501-2042, 
Fax.  503-2501-2775, E-mail: SPEAKSJT@STATE.GOV