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2004-05-27 21:04:00
Embassy Guatemala
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E.O. 12958: N/A


B. STATE 59844

1. (SBU) The following is an update of significant recent
developments in the labor sector and trafficking in persons
(TIP). Topics include:

-- TIP: GOG Enforcement Efforts Gaining Traction

-- TIP: Police Corruption Investigation

-- TIP: First Conviction Lightly Fined

-- TIP: Legislation Update

-- TIP: Kiddy Porn On Streets of Guatemala City

-- TIP: Papal Nuncio Pledges Cooperation

-- Labor: ILO Direct Contacts Mission Visits

-- Labor: MOL Announces Mediation Center

-- Labor: Apparel Sector Highlights Labor Programs

-- Child Labor: National Commission Formed

TIP: GOG Enforcement Efforts Gaining Traction



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

-- 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

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
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

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.