2. (U) Special Prosecutor for Women Sandra Zayas told LabAtt, HROff and PolIntern on May 26 that her special unit to combat TIP was starting to show results, despite resource constraints affecting the anti-TIP unit. (Note: We have requested G/TIP funding for support to the unit, which lacks transportation and office equipment. End Note) A recent series of raids on brothels had resulted in 17 arrests, 11 minors rescued from prostitution, and 104 adult prostitutes turned over to Immigration for deportation. A report provided listed the following results:
-- 9 coordinated (Public Ministry/National Civilian Police/anti-TIP section of the Special Criminal Investigative Service, and the Immigration Directorate, Solicitor General's Office) operations to rescue victims and arrest traffickers in bars/brothels nationwide since March 5. All but
-- 141 adult prostitutes deported.
-- 24 open investigations/prosecutions against 17 traffickers, including two charged with TIP, 10 charged with corruption of minors, one charged with pimping, and four charged with hiring undocumented workers (some face a combination of charges).
-- 11 minors (14-17) rescued from prostitution.
LabAtt emphasized the need for more effective prosecution of traffickers, noting that the first conviction of a trafficker (charged with pimping a 13-year-old minor) resulted only in a $60 fine. Sayas said that case and sentence, handled by a justice of the peace in Cuilapa, Santa Rosa province, occurred before her unit was up an running. Weak laws and the tendency of judges to issue the minimum required sentence will complicate prosecutions, but her unit will do its best to convict traffickers, she said.
In addition, there have several police actions (only one was organized by Zayas' unit) resulting in the rescue of minors in prostitution in recent weeks:
-- On May 14 on a raid at the Club Platinium in Guatemala City, agents of the Criminal Investigation Service (SIC) found nine undocumented foreigners, one of whom was underage, and a Guatemalan minor, working as prostitutes. The police arrested Angel Alfonso Silva, of Nicaragua, and the undocumented foreigners were turned over to Immigration authorities.
-- May 19, police in Zone 6 of Guatemala City rescued two minors working in prostitution and arrested Edin Obdulio Hernandez Acabel, who is believed to be their pimp. Meanwhile, a raid on brothels at the Guatemala-Mexico border resulted in deportation proceedings against 36 undocumented adult women from Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras, and three undocumented adult men.
-- On the night of May 21, Alexander Colop, the assistant Guatemalan Special Prosecutor for Women, acting upon intelligence provided by DHS, raided 6 bars in Retalhuleu and found ten female minors working in prostitution. Five adults were arrested and jailed, thirteen adult prostitutes were turned over to immigration for deportation, and the minors are now being provided victim's services by the NGO, Casa Alianza.
TIP: Police Corruption Investigation
3. (U) The May 14 raid on Club Platinium came as a result from information gathered from the investigation of Rudy Ranulfo Giron Lima, sub-commissioner of police, who was arrested along with several other police officer members of his 'gang' for the kidnapping of Luis Alfonso Sosa Lopez, the son of the President of the Bank of Guatemala. Giron Lima is owner or co-owner of Club Platinium and another capital nightclub, Club Samba, which were subsequently raided by police. The Vice Minister of Government subsequently suspended other four police officers who were reputed to be preferred clients at Giron Lima's clubs, and said they would be investigated to determine whether they had participated in any of the illicit activities at those clubs. TIP: Kiddy Porn on Streets of Guatemala City
4. (U) On May 26, major daily "Prensa Libre," reported that street vendors in downtown of Guatemala City were selling child porn DVDs featuring European or American children and adults performing sex acts. Current law mandates a fine for production or sale of obscene material, without any distinction between child and adult material. However, pending reforms would impose prison terms up to 12 years for the traffickers of these images. This reform is pending before the Commission on Women, Minors and the Family of Congress, as is proposed legislation calling for stiffer penalties regarding the trafficking and prostitution of minors. TIP: Legislative Update
5. (SBU) ILO Child Labor project officer Berta Lidia Barco informed us that the ILO/IPEC penal code reforms, including stiffening sanctions for TIP, have been accepted for consideration by the Congressional Commission for Women, Children and the Family. The Commission has meshed the ILO proposals with a pending reform bill promoted by the Coalition in Favor of Reducing Violence Against Women. The Embassy has requested a copy of the reforms, which would also criminalize child pornography.
TIP: Papal Nuncio Pledges Cooperation
6. (SBU) Per Ref B, LabAtt met on May 19 with Papal Nuncio Bruno Musaro to discuss USG and Embassy efforts to combat TIP in collaboration with the GOG, and our perception of the problem in Guatemala. Musaro, who is recently-arrived in Guatemala, expressed interest in and support for USG efforts. LabAtt described the Guatemalan Catholic Church's programs to assist victims of TIP run by the Pastoral Migration mission, which has shelters on the border with Mexico and in the capital. Musaro expressed interest in learning more about these programs and willingness to consider future collaboration on efforts to combat the problem.
Labor: ILO Direct Contacts Mission Visit
7. (SBU) ILO Officials visited Guatemala May 18-21, at the invitation of the GOG (requested by the ILO Governing Body in March, 2003) to provide technical assistance to improve Guatemala's performance implementing ILO conventions on freedom of association and collective bargaining. They met with the GOG Inter-Institutional Group on Labor Policy, coordinated by the MFA, the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Trade Unionists, and others, and visited union leaders Rigoberto Duenas and Victoriano Zacarias in jail, where they are being held without bond awaiting trial. (On May 11 the judge denied Duenas' request for bail; he has been imprisoned awaiting trial since June 8, 2003.) MFA Multilateral Affairs Director Carla Rodriguez and Vice Minister of Labor Castillo separately told LabAtt that the issues of interest to the mission tracked closely with USG interests, including progress to combat impunity, enforce labor law, and resolve historic labor cases involving unlawful firings of workers for unionizing activity.
Labor: Minister Announces Mediation Center
8. (U) On May 24, Minister of Labor Jorge Gallardo unveiled a program to establish a Center for the Alternate Resolution of Labor Conflicts in Guatemala. The center, scheduled to be operating by the end of 2004, will permit workers or management to voluntarily bring disputes before an arbitration board. Gallardo said the new center, to be developed by the Central American Economic Integration Secretariat (SIECA) and supported by USAID's PROALCA II labor
SIPDIS capacity-building project, is designed to provide an alternative and not to replace the clogged and corrupt labor justice system. Either party may avail themselves of the courts if not fully satisfied at any point in the process. The apparel sector association, VESTEX, which announced its own mediation center to open in September (reported Ref A), will share experiences with the new Center.
Child Labor: National Commission Formed
9. (U) On May 5, Jorge Luis Ortega, President of the Congressional Commission on Women, Children and the Family was selected by Congress as its official representative to the newly-formed National Commission of Childhood and Adolescence. The creation of a National Commission was mandated in the Child Protection Law of June 2003, which includes child labor and other protections. Ortega later announced that the First Lady's Secretariat of Social Work will be charged with securing resources for the National Commission. The first task of the commission, which will be composed of representatives from the public sector and NGOs, will be to establish a set of governing rules to be approved by President Berger. HAMILTON