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04GUATEMALA798 2004-03-31 22:21:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Guatemala
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUATEMALA 000798 




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: The Berger Government has recently taken
significant steps to combat trafficking in persons. During
President Fox's recent visit to Guatemala, Guatemalan
authorities signed an MOU on anti-TIP cooperation with
Mexico. The GOG will deposit its articles of ratification of
the UN Protocol to Combat TIP in New York on April 1, and
President Berger has backed legislative reforms to increase
sanctions for TIP and related crimes. Since shortly after
staffing a new anti-TIP unit in the Public Ministry, the GOG
has conducted regular sweeps of bars and brothels seeking TIP
victims and traffickers. Casa Alianza has been accompanying
law enforcement authorities on these operations.
Approximately 400 GOG law enforcement officials received DHS
anti-TIP training during the week of March 22. We remain
convinced that the GOG is making significant efforts to
combat TIP. End Summary.

Mexico anti-TIP MOU


2. (SBU) During the visit by Mexican President Vincente Fox
to Guatemala on March 23, the Guatemalan and Mexican Foreign
Ministers signed an MOU to protect female and minor TIP
victims in both countries. The MOU promotes actions leading
to cooperation in the protection of women and minor victims
of trafficking in persons in the border area between
Guatemala and Mexico. Both nations pledge to respect the
human rights of victims while they are in custody, and
promise not to incarcerate victims of TIP. They also agree
to form a joint Technical Commission comprised of, from
Mexico: the General Directorate of Protection and Consular
Affairs of the Foreign Relations Secretariat, the Coordinator
of International and Inter-institutional Relations of the
Immigration National Institute of the Secretariat of Interior
and the Attorney General's Office; and from Guatemala: the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Government, the
Attorney General's Office and the General Directorate of

3. (SBU) The Technical Commission is charged with:

-- developing an action plan to train public officials in
both countries to prevent and support female and minor
victims of TIP,

-- produce a study about TIP and the areas in Mexico and
Guatemala where trafficking occurs,

-- establish mechanisms for the voluntary return of women and
minors to reunite them with their families,

-- exchange information regarding female and underage victims
of TIP, and,

-- develop information and prevention campaigns in the areas
where trafficking occurs.

4. (SBU) The Technical Commission may accept the support of
international, civilian and or academic organizations. The
MOU also provides for joint enforcement activities in
compliance with existing regulations of the host country.
(Note: Because of the sovereignty issues this raises, the
agreement will take effect only after the GOG notifies the
Mexican Embassy that the agreement meets requirements of
domestic law. End Note.) The agreement will last three
years and can be extended with approval of both parties.

Legislative Initiatives


5. (SBU) MFA Vice Minister for Human Rights and Migration
Marta Altolaguirre told the Ambassador on March 26 that she
will personally deposit Guatemala's articles of ratification
of the UN Protocol (to the Palermo Convention Against
Organized Crime) to Combat TIP at the UN on April 1, before
visiting Washington to meet with Department officials on
April 2. Altolaguirre confirmed that President Berger
supports the ILO's proposed reforms to the Guatemalan
criminal code to increase penalties for TIP and to add new
TIP-related crimes.

Recent Law Enforcement Actions


6. (SBU) Sandra Zayas, the GOG Prosecutor for Crimes Against
Women, told PolOff that a raid on six brothels in
Mazatenango, Suchitepequez province (located one province
over from the Mexican border and a major transit center for
migrants) resulted in the rescue of a minor engaged in
prostitution on March 26. Zayas told us that the minor has
provided information which will be used to arrest a
trafficker, who was not present in the brothel during the

7. (SBU) The Mazatenango raid was the latest in a series of
sweeps of bar/brothels cited in a report by Casa Alianza
where minors in prostitution are present. Four minors have
been rescued from prostitution in recent weeks (several
others were discovered and rescued prior to the establishment
of the unit) and five traffickers are imprisoned awaiting
trial on TIP-related charges (another is free on bail).
Another such raid is planned for April 2.

8. (SBU) The raids are planned by Zayas, and involve a task
force including police and immigration officials. Zayas has
also invited Casa Alianza to accompany the raids to provide
immediate assistance to victims. Asked why so few victims
had been found so far, Casa Alianza director Arturo
Echeverria told PolOff on March 25 that the information in
the report was collected 5-10 months ago, and shifting
patterns of prostitution could partially (but not fully)
account for poor results. He did not speculate further, and
confirmed that Zayas was very careful not to divulge the
location of the raids in advance.

Anti-TIP Training


9. (U) DHS anti-TIP training was well-attended by GOG law
enforcement officials (principally from the Public Ministry,
National Civilian Police, judiciary, and Immigration
Directorate) during the week of March 22. Over 400 people
attended 4-hour sessions to sensitize them to the differences
of TIP from alien smuggling, how to recognize victims, the
need to protect victims and use their testimony to convict
traffickers, and to prevent TIP by educating the public about
the crime.



10. (SBU) We are encouraged by the Berger Government's
strong signals of engagement on this issue on a variety of
fronts. While initial law enforcement efforts have produced
limited results, we believe the GOG's efforts are sincere and
will in time yield more significant results. It is very
encouraging to us that the GOG has requested Casa Alianza
participation in its law enforcement efforts, which should
help target those efforts where victims can be easily found.
The upcoming visit by Vice Foreign Minister Marta
Altolaguirre on April 2 and the April 30 Berger visit to
Washington provide opportunities to encourage further efforts
and collaboration to combat TIP.